Today’s executives and managers are swamped with ideas about improving business results. These range from improving so-called “soft skills” like leadership and communications, to methods like Strategy Mapping and Six Sigma, to software tools for customer relationship management or supply chain planning and execution. The panoply of approaches is promoted by an army of capable academics, consultants, researchers, and information technology vendors – and executives and managers are buffeted by claims, many of them difficult to evaluate.
Within this environment, analytics is yet another entrant, and companies are right to be cautious about jumping on the bandwagon. On the other hand, the power of analytics to improve business performance is undeniable – and well worth embracing as part of a career development strategy. Just as companies can out-perform rivals by leveraging analytics, professionals with the ability to marry intuition, business experience, and modern analytics will have a positive impact on business performance. Accordingly, it makes sense to understand analytics and how to go about developing appropriate skills.
More and more, analytics in all forms is becoming part of the fabric of successful companies. At the same time, it is new enough that there are opportunities for upwardly mobile professionals to differentiate themselves by learning how to use these powerful tools. As the tools become more user-friendly, there is no reason for business users to think of analytics as being beyond their ability. And as younger generations of managers rise through the ranks, it will even become commonplace for senior executives to be hands on users of analytical tools. This is not to say that the typical business person needs to become a big-data quant jock. Rather, as analytics become more commonplace, professionals who can quickly marshal the facts and develop solid analyses will have a significant impact on company performance, and that generally bodes well career-wise.
For more on how enbracing analytics can enhance your career, please see my recent article in MWORLD, the flagship publication of the American Management Association.