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Creating the analytics role – merging business with technologists

Where are all the data scientists?

Finding the right set of skills to drive big data and business intelligence (BI) in an organisation may not be easy, especially as there seems to be a lack of data scientists that are needed to do the analysis.

However, there is an alternative to hunting down someone with the desired experience. It can be as simple as merging business professionals with technologists, according to a panel of CIOs who spoke at the Big Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence 2012 conference in Sydney this week.

“I don’t think at this stage that the skills are out there in one person yet,” said CIO of PBT Group, Martin Rennhackkamp.

“I know universities are looking at curricular to address that, but I think if you want to get started with that right now you must look at a team – someone with business knowledge and then somebody with analytical and data management experience. That, you can’t normally get in one person.”

The idea is to break down siloed departments and to better utilise in-house talent so that value is delivered from big data and BI practices.

Ajay Kumar Dhir, group CIO at Lanco Infratech India, said one type of skill set is not enough to achieve the best results from using analytical applications, and business professionals, who understand the data, are key in discovering and coming up with information that is going to add value or keep the organisation ahead of the competition.

“It’s not just plain technology [skills] that can be leveraged or plain business skills," he said.

“If you start with an initiator from an IT perspective chances of success are lesser as compared to the initiator being lead or driven or facilitated by the business.

“IT is all about people, processes and technology. It is not just technology first and then we bundle it with people, processes and the business.”

CIO of HCF, Patrick Shearman, also said it’s important for organisations to now start building a team that merges both skills sets needed for data analytics.

“You can buy a lot of infrastructure that can speed up the analytics very quickly. That then needs to be combined with people from the business side and working as a team.

“The key part is it’s a combined activity from business [professionals] and technologists to work on the data sets to come up with finding that value.”

A recent Telyste survey found that skills development in big data and BI are critical priorities among Australian CIOs for the 2012-13 financial year.

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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