Getting the Team Right
Getting the organizational support and technology in place for any analytics are important first steps, to be sure. But an equally important initial task is determining how to get the right technical skills on board that will allow you to be successful. And the best members of your analytics team will have both technical and data analytics skills.
Technical skills should be a primary consideration in the technology selections your company makes. Too often, organizations select a technological project without considering who will operate it or how it will be used. Analytics technologies are sophisticated and can be complex; attending a class or two is nice, but experience is key – do not expect to be successful by simply sending a few people to a short seminar. Real success is built upon finding the people who have experience with the products and technologies being used.
The other important skill to look for in team members is the knowledge of how to turn data into information. Business analysts play a key role in the process of translating the business needs, workflows, and processes into an analytical solution. In larger IT shops, there are usually some staff with the right type of experience to make a graceful transition into a data or analytics developer role. However, if business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics are new to the organization, these skills may not exist yet from within and will need to be sought through outside providers. When looking to outside providers for assistance in fulfilling a contract or completing a project – given the inherent challenges of an analytics project – it is critical to select a firm that is a proven expert in the field (not simply a generic IT service provider).
Certainly, many variables contribute to the success (or lack thereof) of a project. In the end, though, the success of any company’s first foray into data and analytics will hinge on putting together a team that brings directly relevant experience to the table and bridges the technical and business worlds to deliver true analytical value.
Adapted from “Becoming Data Driven,” a chapter in CIO Leadership for Cities and Counties: Emerging Trends and Practices.
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