Why Analytics Skill Set is a Must for the Leaders of Tomorrow

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Originally posted by our Co-founder, Sarita Digumarti on LinkedIn.

We have a very interesting article this week by Sarita on ‘Why Analytics Skillset is a Must for the Leaders of Tomorrow’.  The article points out to where all analytics can be used at the managerial roles.

Are you an aspiring business leader and manager? Or maybe you are already one? Well either way, am sure you think that the only way to grow your career in most industries or functional areas is to make sure that you keep yourself up to date about the latest innovations and advances in your chosen field. But, guess what? The days of training yourself on a set of skills, and using the same set throughout your career are long gone.

As a leader in today’s volatile and fast changing  business landscape, you need to be a knowledge seeker, equipping yourself with skills that will prepare you for roles in the future (many of which we cannot begin to imagine, as they do not exist as of today). One such skillset is analytics skills and if you are thinking, “Why do I need to know analytics, when I am in marketing, or finance or supply chain…” well, read on.

Leadership is no longer about ‘being in charge’. Today, a successful leader is one who can mentor and influence their team; someone who has a keen business sense, and is able to use their multiple skill set to identify business problems and find unique and creative ways to solve them. What makes analytics stand out within this context of skill upgradation is the overwhelming growth that this industry has seen over the last three years and the dizzying pace that it will continue to grow and innovate at. People that are currently in this industry (or want to build careers in this space), and even those who not directly working with data, need to especially focus on this component to actively grow their careers. As a leader, you need to be able to take data insights and use it to make informed business decisions. If you can’t do this well, then honestly (and I truly apologize for being so crass) your future is dim.

Unless you have been living on Mars for the last decade, it is unlikely that you are unaware of the data wave sweeping the world and the phenomenal benefits of harnessing and garnering insights from data. In fact many of you have surely even worked with data to some extent. There are many reasons for the particularly fast rate at which the analytics industry is impacting the whole business arena, in terms of skillsets required, both from a technology perspective as well as an analysis perspective. The most important of these are:

1. Data storage gains: Storage technology has dramatically increased how much data can be stored and at cheaper and cheaper rates.

2. Data collection gains: The type of data that can be collected has dramatically increased.

3. Social Media Trends: People are sharing much more information about themselves.

4. Customer expectations of personalized service has gone far beyond anything ever before

5. Real time analysis is the norm

To further understand the importance of analytics skills, let’s break down the essential tasks of an effective manager and leader. Their main tasks are to motivate their team to work productively and take business decisions that will improve the bottom line. To be able to do this, they need to be able to look at the increasingly growing data at hand and somehow make sense of it all. An analytic skill set can help you do just that. It can help you:

  • Provide direction to your organization in good and more importantly, bad times. Analytics can be that fallback option to rely on, it can help you understand  the dynamics of the business, and what causes economic shifts, how to predict, and prepare for them.
  • Find that winning idea, or alternatively find reason to get rid of those initiatives that are really not getting you anywhere. Analytical testing can determine what is working for your business, and whether the changes you’re implementing in systems and processes are realistically helping your company.
  • Leverage your previous investments in the company so that you can directly affect business processes. More insights, faster execution of projects and more value.
  • Understand how and where to cut costs and increase efficiency. Think about examples like Amazon, Walmart and Google. Companies like these have milked analytics to streamline processes and systems to the point of perfection and to identify and eliminate any lags.
  • Assess and manage risks.

Every manager should be able to help identify key questions about the purpose of their organization, its functioning and its long-term goals, and analytics can help you answer these questions. The 2-dimensional conceptual approach of most analytics is information and insight, and using this, let’s look at some key questions that data and analytics can help you answer.

Information will help you understand:

  • What happened in the past?
  • What is happening now?
  • What will happen in the future?

 Insights will help you understand:

  • How & why did it happened?
  • What’s the next best action?
  • What is the best case / worst-case situation?

As we all move towards a world where more and more data will be collected about every interaction – man to man, man to machine, and machine to machine, we will continue to see dramatic changes and improvements in the data storage, collection and analysis areas. It is therefore extremely critical for both data scientists and managers and senior resources in all areas to keep upskilling. Watch this space as we continue to bring you a series of posts that will further explain how analytics can help you in your roles as business leaders in retail, finance, research and customer relations.

If you interested in sharpening your analytics skills, why don’t you explore the MISB Bocconi Executive Program in Business Analytics.

To learn more about the EPBA visit http://jgs.aw/1EXf6Ol

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