The Decision Maker

The Analytics Talent Gap: Why the Middle Matters

Posted by Peter Keers, PMP on Oct 25, 2016 11:15:00 AM

 The Analytics Talent Gap: Why the Middle Matters

There are many challenges to creating a data-driven credit union. One often cited issue is attracting and retaining qualified technical personnel. Hiring a Data Scientist is impossible for all but the very largest credit unions due to cost. Filling the position Data Architect is tough because of the heavy competition for qualified candidates. However, for many credit unions, having full-time employees with these skillsets is probably overkill anyway. There are many qualified vendors and consultants who can provide these services on either a project or retainer basis.

 Where the talent gap really hurts credit unions is in the middle ranks. There are two particularly valuable types of employees that credit unions need to attract and retain.

Business Users with Data and Analytics Skillsets

In the past, middle managers and subject area experts were prized primarily for their business acumen. Whether it was Finance, Marketing, or Operations, excellence in that focused business specialty was enough.

In today’s quest for organizations to become data-driven, employees in the middle ranks must be knowledgeable about the tools and techniques of data and analytics. It is no longer enough for business managers to consume canned reports. In order to achieve excellence, these performers need to know how to access and interrogate the data that has an influence on their areas of specialty.

Marketing is a great example of a business domain that is directly impacted when employees are knowledgeable in data and analytics practices. In today’s credit unions, Marketing must not only rely on abundant and accurate internal data, but it also has the opportunity to tap into an ocean of external data. Much of this data is unstructured; it is not in easily digested rows and columns. There are cutting edge Big Data technologies that marketers need to be able to use in leveraging this vast trove of data.

Translators - The Liaison between the business and technical worlds

Translators can work either in a business area or an IT territory. No matter what their official environment, however, they are comfortable on either side. Their focus is translating communications between the two worlds.

In the Business-to-IT communication, the Translators explain business requirements in a language that the technology team can understand and express in software and other media that produce the desired business result. In the IT-to-Business communication, the Translators convey the possibilities and limitations that govern the technology environment to help the business better manage the risks and rewards balancing act. Overall, these employees help to deliver the data and tools that make the data-driven organization a reality.

attraction and retention

Clearly attracting and retaining these two types of employees is a key to building and maintaining a data-driven credit union. Yet, their skills are in high demand. What must be done to hire and keep these valuable performers?

Make the Data and Tools Available

These employees know what to do and how to do it when it comes to data and analytics. Yet, if the data and tools are not at their fingertips, they will be motivated to seek employers who can make these easily available.

Be Ready to Pay

These are valuable employees who will be an integral part of achieving the credit union’s data and analytics strategy. Making their compensation packages competitive is a strategic investment.

Training has a Double Benefit

Data-savvy job candidates will be attracted by opportunities to extend their skills. Another enormous benefit is to train existing employees to become data and analytics-focused. Overall, a robust training program sends a strong signal that the organization is evolving its culture to be more data-driven.. . .

Unlike the “rent-an-expert” opportunities for high level technical roles, building a strong middle tier of data and analytics-oriented employees is essential to creating and maintaining a high-performance, data-driven organization.

Credit Union Data Analytics: Beginning The Journey Whitepaper

 

Topics: Analytics, Enterprise Data Management, Leadership

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