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It takes more than hard data skills succeed in analytics

In this age, the world is literally drowning in data. Whoever is able to better understand, harness and deploy data has a clear advantage. So it is no surprise that many professionals and organizations have invested heavily to gain an advantage in the data age. Given the nature of data, many sought to leverage the hard data skills to build the data advantage, this includes data engineering, machine learning, programming, statistics, math.

Many started to realize that hard data skills could only go so far...something was missing. While the hard data skills are able to accomplish impressive feats, such as find pivotal insights or hidden relationships between variables in huge data sets and even automate complex tasks; the value chain was incomplete. It turns out that there was a soft side to data skills that proved to be crucial.

The most pivotal data insights and hidden data relationships cannot create value unless it is presented in an accessible, concise, coherent and compelling fashion. Organizations and leaders are not comfortable trusting the data and technology without some human oversight. Many are now coming around to recognize the importance of the softer aspects of data skills such as Data Visualization and Data Storytelling; which help contextualize the data insights and findings to facilitate informed decision making using data.

The data advantage is built not just on the hard data skills; but rather on three factors:

  • Data skills continue to be relevant to acquire, process, manage, analyze large data sets

  • Relevant Experience - Data is nothing but numbers and letters which carries no context nor meaning. The outcomes of the analysis need to be contextualized by a person with the right experience to interpret the outcomes from the analysis, to know if the hidden relationships are spurious and don't make sense or if the findings are symptoms and not the root cause.

  • Influencing skills - Refers to the ability to build a concise, coherent and compelling story from the data, build concensus around the key findings from the analysis and to facilitate organizations and leaders to make data driven decisions.

With this in mind, it allows even those who are less able with data to be part of the value chain as well. And the ability to build a system out of these complementary yet diverse skills sets forms the basis for a sustainable data advantage for professionals and organizations.

If you or your organization are looking to address the soft skills gaps in your data value chain, look out for FYTs upcoming workshops:

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