Business intelligence analyst dashboard on virtual screen. Big data Graphs Charts.

By Adam Burgess, Senior Manager at Sellick Partnership

For decades, businesses have been using data for growth. Today, the importance of utilising data to gain insights into customer behaviour, market trends and business performance continues to develop. However, harnessing the power of data requires more than just the right tools and technology – it also requires the right talent.

Technological developments, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), have resulted in data and data analysis providing increasing opportunities for businesses to improve their competitive edge. Data is a valuable resource in all sectors, but it is only useful if it is analysed, interpreted and applied correctly – this is where talented individuals with an understanding of data science and analytics come in.

Top data analysts possess the skills and expertise needed to extract insights from large and complex data sets, identify patterns, and develop predictive models that can drive business decision-making. Here, we will look at the role data plays, the power it has to improve businesses and outline how this results in an increasing need for data analysts.



The overlooked power of data

Data has the capability to improve a number of business processes that can help to facilitate growth. These benefits are driven by executive decisions – many of which can be led or supported by data. Data provides insight and intelligence needed to make informed decisions, allowing businesses to identify trends, patterns and opportunities that can dictate strategic decision-making.

Not only can data support business strategies, but it can expedite the process of finding a strategy and coming to decisions. By collecting and analysing data, businesses can identify areas where they are wasting time, resources or money. Executives are then able to make changes and optimise their operations for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

A fundamental aspect of business strategy is striving for customer satisfaction, for which the advantages of data are often overlooked; data can be used to understand customer behaviour, preferences and needs. By analysing customer data, businesses can identify areas where they can improve the customer experience and build stronger customer relationships.

For businesses in the product development chain, data can help to identify gaps in the market, as well as opportunities for new products and services. By analysing data on customer behaviour and preferences, businesses can develop products that better meet customer needs.

In order to facilitate business growth, executives often turn to performance tracking. The task is made much easier by collecting and analysing data on business performance, which allows businesses to identify areas where they are excelling and areas where they need to improve. This enables them to make changes and set goals for improvement over time.

By leveraging the insights that data provides, businesses can make more informed decisions and optimise their operations for greater success. The ability to collate quality data and repurpose it to make executive decisions is the driving force behind the hiring of data analysts, engineers and scientists.



The synergy of AI and data science

In each industry, the introduction of automated processes and AI can seem daunting, especially to individuals who think that incorporating machines will replace personnel. While the increasing use of AI tools and their ability to utilise large data sets would initially seem to reduce the role of data analysts, scientists and engineers, it actually increases the importance of these roles.

In some circumstances, AI is able to gather and organise large data sets – a vital step in using data to facilitate business growth. However, the ability to collect large data sets will always be undermined by the importance of:

  • Maintaining the quality of data.
  • Arranging data to avoid data silos, instead maintaining a centralised system that the right people can access.
  • Making sure the data is secure (and adheres to data protection laws, such as the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR).
  • Ensuring that the infrastructure can deal with the data sets.

As more organisations recognise the value of data, the demand for data science talent continues to grow. Increased demand results in competition for top data science roles, and businesses that want to attract and retain top talent must be willing to offer competitive salaries, benefits and opportunities for growth.



Data analysis requires specialised skills

Analysing large and complex data sets requires specialised skills and expertise that cannot be easily replicated. Talented data scientists possess a unique combination of skills, including statistical analysis, programming and machine learning, which can enable them to uncover valuable insights and develop predictive models that can inform business decisions. Without these skills, businesses may struggle to extract meaningful insights from their data, leading to missed opportunities and costly mistakes.



The best time to use data is now

In order to harness the growing power of data, it is essential to secure the best data talent at the earliest opportunity. Without the expertise of qualified data analysts, any collected data cannot be used to its full potential, and this can leave businesses vulnerable to losing competitive ground to their rivals.

Even the most advanced technology and data infrastructure can fail to deliver the desired results if left in unqualified hands. Conversely, organisations that prioritise talent and invest in building a strong data science and analytics team can gain a significant competitive advantage, and the sooner businesses adopt data-led strategies, the sooner they will reap the benefits.

As the demand for data science talent continues to grow, businesses that invest in attracting and retaining top talent will be better positioned to succeed in the data-driven economy. To make the best hiring decisions, businesses must have access to the right talent pool – thanks to expert data analyst recruiters, this access is easily gained.