Analytics is a relatively ‘young’ area of work. It has evolved and expanded 100 fold in the last 10 years as more and more companies and their top managements have become convinced about the immense value it adds to decision making. In this increasingly complex marketplace, where net and mobile technologies are adding to the conventional brick and mortar economy, and the life of data is becoming short (ie, data which is very old is not usable), analytics is becoming increasingly useful and moving from the fringes towards the mainstream w.r.t business decisions. This, of course, spells increased requirement for analytics talent. It also increases the responsibility of success and failure to correct and timely decisions made using analytics. In short, the analyst (used loosely to define the analytics fraternity) has many choices in the workplace and can decide which role to play in his career.
Broadly the roles can be segregated into
- Individual Contributor – Subject matter expert (IC -SME) role
- Team Manager role
Individual Contributor – Subject matter expert (IC -SME) role: – As the name signifies, an Individual contributor works by himself and may not have a team reporting to him. He would typically be an expert on a particular subject/s or line of work (eg. web analytics and using it for marketing campaigns, modeling for Loss given default etc.). He may also be a specialist in some software – Hadoop / SAS e- Miner etc. He would work on projects across teams in an advisory role and would interact with the client as and when required. Exploring paths to improve a project would form a large part of his job. He will have to keep abreast with happenings in his area of specialization in his industry as well as in other related industries. A keen brain, exploratory nature and love of his work would be the hallmarks of an SME IC.
Team Manager Role: – A team manager would be spending equal parts of his day between client management, team handling and other organizational duties (budgeting, planning, recruitment, training etc.). His knowledge of analytics would be sound peppered with practical ways to execute projects, optimize outputs and ensure client satisfaction with the given resource constraints. A typical ‘manager’, he will be juggling multiple deliverables and playing different roles in the day. A person in this role can rise up to become the CEO, COO etc. of an Analytics firm. He also has scope to move into consulting and have a practical idea of implementing the analytics output. The higher he rises, the less of hands-on analytics comes his way. His goals would include business acquisition targets. These roles are more plentiful than the IC- SME role discussed above.
Thus, as many pure BPOs move into analytics and become KPOs, the requirement for analytics talent will increase. In my view, analytics is a skill and people with any background, with a head for numbers and a conviction in the power of decision making by numbers will find this to be a field after their own heart. It covers nearly all streams of work within an organization – HR, Operations, Marketing, Sales, IT, Supply chain management, Logistics– and hence, the choice of the team that you decide to join for analytics can be aligned to your area of interest of specializations and study.