Gartner: How To Find, Develop and Retain Your Analytical Talent

The shortage of analytical talent will be a major impediment for companies trying to build analytic capabilities, according to a report by research firm Gartner (@Gartner_inc).

To deal with that inevitability, organizations should define their needs and formulate strategic approaches to find, develop and retain analytical talent, according to the report.

But different organizations require different types of analytical talent to ensure they maximize their investments in analytical technologies and tools.

Gartner groups analysts into the following three categories:

  • Evangelists – These are business heads and chief executives who rely heavily on data analysis to make business decisions. Evangelists try to get others to do the same thing. They have a strong business acumen and a deep understanding of how analytics can be used to help them make better decisions.
  • Enablers – This group includes data scientists and analytical application engineers who create advanced analytical applications, models and algorithms through comprehensive, in-depth quantitative and statistical knowledge.
  • Consumers – These people such as marketing analysts and financial analysts use analytics developed by the enablers to make routine decisions to address particular business problems. Consumers link analysis and insights to business results. Consumers also include call center agents following the “next best offer” recommendation to better serve customers, as well as shop managers following fact-based advice to replenish merchandise to optimize sales.

Hiring people with the right analytical skills will enable organizations to better allocate resources as well as discover new insights – insights that will improve performance at both the corporate strategy and process levels, according to Gartner analyst Daniel Yuen (@DanielSHYuen), the report’s author.

The problem is that demand for analytical skills exceeds the supply and the shortage of analytical talent will only get worse in the coming years. Yuen says because of that the business executives responsible for success in analytics programs have to do better when it comes to finding, developing and retaining analytical talent.

For one thing, Yuen says organizations should look for analytical skills in places other than the departments where analytics is traditionally concentrated. They should also develop candidates with potential analytical skills to provide high value to the organization.

To help find the right analytical talent, Gartner recommends organizations:

  • Derive analytical talent requirements from analytics road maps and business intelligence strategies. Organizations should then conduct inventories of the analytical skills to determine the gaps and identify potential analytical talent.
  • Extend their reaches to analyst “hot spots,” including special interest groups, research societies, seminars, conferences and workshops, social networking groups and “quants” (quantitative analyst) websites to find suitable talent.
  • Offer sponsorship and internships to potential high performers in university groups – through the university’s student union and careers center.
  • Offer specialized technique and “soft skill” training to enhance the performance of existing analytical talent – to partially mitigate the shortage.
  • Leverage their analytical cultures to both attract and retain analytical talent.

Next Steps

You can learn more about how to the future of analytical talent here. You can also subscribe to our blog to stay informed on this and other data analytics topics.

Linda Rosencrance
Spotfire Blogging Team