4 Challenges Facing Business & Data Analysts Right Now
“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.”
– Geoffrey Moore
The use of data and its possibilities are surging. Ubiquitous data has illuminated a new path for businesses in 2016, providing insight and opening avenues previously unknown. Organisations are furiously revamping infrastructure and upgrading the skills to be able to accommodate the trend and communicate the insights effectively.
Interest and curiosity about data & analytics is coming from everywhere, from top-level management through to front-end sales people. They’re demanding off-the-cuff reports, visual data and practical, actionable information. Most data analysts struggle to share this raw information as useful content, let alone communicate the complexity of data in a palatable format (i.e not as a pivot table in Excel). In the quest to make the best out of the data, analysts and IT teams are fraught with challenges.
Here are some of the challenges our clients have come across.
CHALLENGE 1: ASSIMILATING USEFUL DATA
With data sources multiplying and complexity rising, the most common challenge for analysts today is getting relevant data in front of those that need it. The challenge is mining the seemingly endless data sets, sifting and sorting it to get data that is valuable and useful.
CHALLENGE 2: INTERPRETATION OF DATA
Analysts may have sifted sand but missed gold – in haste, by oversight or technology gaps. The challenge here is for the analysts to understand the broader purpose of the data. Then use their expertise to analyse the datasets, and to piece together the insights for consumption. Visual analytics and setting up a rapid automation process can be the best ways to crunch enormous volumes of data, select and present the data for meaningful interpretation.
CHALLENGE 3: CREATE A DATA NARRATIVE IN REAL TIME
The data loses value in the strategic decision-making process if the information is not precise or well-timed. Analysts are required to explore the voluminous data, gain business insights and weave a story in near real-time. Without a proper and contextualised narrative, even the greatest data is useless as an untold story.
CHALLENGE 4: BRIDGING KNOWLEDGE GAPS AND COUNTERING OBJECTIONS
In most cases, analysed data is presented to a user or business leader who’s probably not a data specialist. The challenge then is to bridge the divide with effective communication. Unexpected or confusing results may be met with hostility – we can’t assume that we get the results we are after or they’re even understood. Analysts need to combat this with evidence (data) and clear, compelling presentation (Reports, Visualisation). As Sean Rad, founder Ad.ly, puts it: “Data beats emotions.”
We’d have to agree.