The last hundred years have seen the rise and dip of various professions, professions that have given rise to and fuelled revolutions of their time. Pre- independent India saw Lawyers at helm of the independence struggle. The mid sixties saw the rise of the Engineer and the Scientist which led to some of our greatest revolutions such as the green revolution. The eighties and the nineties saw the domination of Information technology and financial market professionals. The 21st century is now at the onset of an Analytics revolution.
Analytics is the art and the science of analysing data in its enormity and discovering patterns in them and using these patterns to predict specific performance indicators to a very high level of accuracy. Statistical techniques and sophisticated algorithms when applied on the enormous amount of data that is the generated today can identify patterns, correlations that would otherwise be lost in the dataset. On analysing these patterns and correlations, new, powerful and game changing insights can be garnered, giving decision- making a whole new dimension. Therefore analytics in its sophistication nullifies decision making based on gut feelings, instead allows one to make data driven decisions. It is this aspect of analytics that Redwood Associates believes that will bring about a transformational revolution in the present business sphere.
Big Data, as the trove of data is called, has given rise to a new profession, that of the Analyst. A profession that a McKinsey report suggests will see a huge increase in popularity and demand as organizations are increasingly depending on data savvy analysts to gather their data and turn the huge data sets into meaningful information from which powerful insights can be garnered.
So what makes an Analyst? A curious and detail oriented mind with good knowledge of analytical tools such as SAS, SPSS, R, Hadoop and analytical techniques such as correlation, regression, cluster and factor analysis etc., makes a good Data Analyst. Advancements in the analytics industry is closely related to the advancements in technology. Therefore a good grasp of the latest technology is also necessary. But a great Analyst is one who is also committed, one who goes the extra mile, one who is creative and has a good business sense and most importantly someone who is intuitive enough to make the right decision.
The rising dominance of the Analyst can also be explained by the fact that analytics is not limited to any one field or domain; instead an analyst’s expertise can be applied across the board from Education to Manufacturing, Marketing to HR, Finance to Travel and Tourism. There simply is no boundary as to the industry eligibility of an Analyst.
In the Pharmaceutical industry, analytics has been in use for a long time now, but what has changed in the last few years is the speed at which this data is collected, analysed and the insights executed. When earlier it took about 2 months to collect, analyse data and the present the insights, in present day this is done on a weekly basis if not on a daily basis. As a result, the effectiveness of strategies can be measured almost in real time, customer trends are picked up immediately, clinical trials are no longer a lengthy process and it allows for resources to be allocated efficiently. Companies like Quintiles, Accenture are some of the leaders providing analytical driven pharmaceutical services.
In HR, professionals are increasingly turning to predictive analytics to gain meaningful insights from the HR data collected from various sources. HR professionals are using analytics to predict the effectiveness of hiring, performance of employees and attrition decisions are now made based on data. LookBeyondResumes.com a product developed by Redwood Associates utilises information, technology and powerful data mining algorithms to enable an employer to shortlist smarter and a job seeker to apply better
In the Manufacturing industry, the Germans and the Japanese spear headed by Deming’s, are pioneers in the application of statistics and analytics to innovate, design and improve the manufacturing process. Analytics built into the manufacturing process allows for continuous process improvement, quick detection of defects, identify customer trends early on and all this has a significant impact on the costs saved.
In Marketing, analytics is applied to identify potential customers of a product or service, the size of the market, the profitability of the market. Analysts analyse the market data and supply information that affects inventory planning, procurement decisions, branding decisions, workforce planning, promotional programs etc.
Analytics is widely used in the Financial sector. Banking analytics solutions are designed to help banks in their operational activities like customer acquisition, operations and risk management. Predictive modeling of customer behavior and scoring techniques enable banks in answering key questions of profitability and minimizing default risks.
The scope for growth in the Analytics industry is tremendous. For example, every organization today has a website, therefore each of these organizations have a need for web analytics to measure their online performance and ROI. Thus every organization has a need for an analyst. But the analytics industry is still an up and coming one and the talent pool that is available is not sufficient to meet the demand. Recognizing this gap in the talent pool early on, Redwood Associates through its sister concern Analytics Training Institute has been empowering individuals with knowledge in analytical tools and techniques since 2007 and has to date empowered over 10,000 individuals and over 120 Corporates with smarter decision –making skills. With McKinsey & Co reporting that by 2018, we would have a dire shortage of data savvy managers, the road ahead for the Analyst looks very promising.