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Data Analyst: Does Everybody Need To Be One?
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pfretty494
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pfretty494,
User Rank: Moderator
1/29/2015 | 5:24:42 PM
Simple answer
Absolutely not. However, it is important that everyone within the organization understands and respects the importance of data. The key to big data success is to be able to not only build the models, but put insights into action. The best results occur when an organization is able to build and nurture a truly analytical culture. 

Peter Fretty, IDG blogger working on behalf of SAS
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2015 | 5:34:25 PM
Not a requirement but valuable, nonetheless
Not necessary to be a data analyst, but certainly very helpful in the ability to parse/interpretet the data. 
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/29/2015 | 6:04:49 PM
Re: Simple answer
That "analytical culture" is the really hard part. In my view it can't be purely bottom up or top down. Collaboration is key. Facebook has talked about a blended structure, with analytics leaders embedded within lines of business but also reporting up to a centralized analytics leader, so the organization avoids duplicative projects and everyone can learn from successes and failures pursued by inidividual business units. Analytics leaders in business units could help teams and individuals with best practices for dashboards and reports and making available trusted data.
Joe Stanganelli
IW Pick
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
1/29/2015 | 9:50:31 PM
Priorities
Mamet put it best: "The boat needs to look like a boat.  The sail doesn't need to look like a boat."
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2015 | 9:08:10 AM
Re: Priorities
"Making the analysis intelligent is just as important as making analytics accessible and easy to use". I like this statement. Most analysts pay less attention this aspect.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2015 | 9:22:53 AM
Re: Simple answer
@Henschen, I agree with you. It is a good idea to have their analysis based on the individual business units. It will add more value than centralizing everything.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
1/31/2015 | 10:41:05 PM
Re: Simple answer
@pfretty949: Developing the kind of analytical culture you're talking about is easier said than done. I've seen many bad business decisions made by people who felt they had the "right" data to support their preconceived notions without recognizing that they were injecting their own biases. Or, perhaps they DID recognize this and it was precisely the point. Nobody likes to hear that the data doesn't support their goals or strategies. A lot of education will be needed to create a truly sustainable analytical culture in any organization.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
2/3/2015 | 2:43:54 AM
Re: Priorities
The basic requirement for data analytics is that it can reveal valuable result. The tool should be accessible and easy to use but all these would be vain if there is no valuable result available.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
2/3/2015 | 2:53:39 AM
Re: Simple answer
@Susan: Reminds me of Moneyball (one of my favorite books ever).  An entire culture infused with "old thinking" by the same people shuffled around from organization to organization regardless of actual performance, threatened and disrupted by people who actually thought to look at the numbers.

One of my favorite anecdotes from that book involves a telling of a sabremetrician's analysis of how a stadium remodel will impact a particular team (I think it was the Houston Astros, but I forget because it's been so long since I've read the book).  His findings: "Sorry, if you make these changes, you lose more games."  His study was highly controversial in the organization and was buried, instead of acted upon -- because upper management had already decided that they wanted to make the proposed stadium changes so that there would be more homeruns and thus cause more excitement for fans.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
2/7/2015 | 3:23:20 PM
No, but...
Not everyone needs to be a mathematician, computer programmer, scientist, auto mechanic, musician, seamster/seamstress, or any number of other professional specialties either, but all of the above and many more are useful skills to have, even if one has no hope of attaining professional-level competence in any of them.

 
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