The title of this blog post says it all, really: every field needs an analyst. In fact: everyone, regardless of their profession, will need to essentially become an analyst themselves. And with the advent of self-service analytical programs (which eliminate the need for programming know-how), plus the easier sharing and updating in the cloud-based versions of these programs, it has also become easier than ever to create dashboards and relevant graphics. Data collection has been simplified as well. In CRM systems, data can be stored simply and easily retrieved for use; financial and sales information is recorded and linked to individual accounts. This data can either be forwarded directly to an analytical program or downloaded as an Excel document before being uploaded back into an analytical program. And then it’s time for the fun bit: creating visuals from the data and gleaning insights.
Who should become an analyst
Allow me to give a few examples of jobs in which the importance of analysis is increasing:
- Politicians: For a politician, it’s no longer enough to shape policy based on ideology, political theory, public opinion and gut feelings. These days, he or she must be able to predict and express the effects of a given policy in objective figures. To do this, the politician must collect data and apply the forecasting function of an analytical program. This enables the politician to substantiate their point of view much more effectively.
- Managers and team leads: A manager can take a great many decisions based on data, which is obviously not a new idea. Such decisions might involve capacity planning, budget allocation, KPIs, absenteeism and performance, for example. And there is potential for some prediction here as well, so that a well-considered forecast concerning turnover, profit and staff needs can be made in advance.
- Sales professionals: Based on the historical data in a CRM system, deals already closed, number of leads and where the leads come from, market information and input from an organisation such as Statistics Netherlands, a sales professional can determine where and how to deploy actions, along with how many leads and conversions are needed to attain the stated targets. Such analyses might generate new opportunities as well, in the form of untapped sectors or new products or services to be delivered.
Why, in the future, everyone will be an analyst
In the future, everyone will (in principle) be an analyst. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Analytical work is operational work, meaning it currently tends to be assigned to the juniors and starters in a given department. These juniors and starters will carry the knowledge and skills they have gained with them as their career progresses. When they take on higher, more strategic-level positions, they will be able to evaluate data and glean insights on their own.
- Courses on Big Data and data analysis are incredibly popular at universities and universities of applied sciences because everyone knows that is what the future holds. Consequently, more young people who are familiar with data analysis are entering the labour force each year.
- Businesses are looking for employees who can fulfil multiple roles and wear many hats. A great many vacancy postings, in all fields, ask that the applicant possess a “strong analytical mind” or “solid analytical skills”. Economic theory teaches us that supply will respond to demand. And since self-service analytical programs are making it easier to conduct analysis, the demand in this area can only increase.
We have been seeing this development for some time in our professions, sales and marketing. That is why we are committed to training young, ambitious people to become “sales or marketing professionals 3.0”: they start out as analysts and then progress into positions in sales and marketing. And they are eager to assist you, as well. Are you in the market for an analyst to support your marketing and/or sales team? I look forward to hearing from you.
Frank op Den Kamp