Given the prevalence of organizations planning on hiring more data analysts to stay competitive, there will not just be a need for MBAs in business analytics to fill the ranks, but a need for leaders to guide these evolving teams. Leadership involves expertise in a particular field and comfort with communicating and coordinating the many moving parts of a company.
Allen Graves, a contributor to Success.com, writes that "only organizations with fully developed teams dedicated to organizing and analyzing data will continue to be successful in the years to come."
Leadership in business analytics is about combining the old with the new; good leadership has always been made up of the same core components, while business analytics is a new and quickly evolving field. The former requires an acknowledgement of what has worked well in the past, while the latter requires the flexibility of being able to keep pace with modern business trends to stay on the cutting edge.
An MBA in business analytics is one concrete way to gain a leg up in the always-adapting inner workings of businesses and organizations.
A Dearth in Leadership
"According to 2013 research from the American Management Association and i4cp, a human capital research and data firm, 58 percent of company leaders said business analytics are vital to their organizations," writes Graves, "while 82 percent said business analytics will be even more important to their industry five years from now." This is indicative of a future shortage of MBAs capable of leading and coordinating teams of data analysts.
Well-led teams of data analysts will work effective communication into the culture of their team. As Graves writes, "Leaders should also be comfortable communicating with partners and stakeholders about daily business intelligence matters."
Piyanka Jain, a contributor at Forbes, writes of a CEO friend of hers who was disappointed with a chief data scientist he had hired. The team set to work crunching complex sets of data. "As expected, those problems took long to solve, but unfortunately did not quite move the business," she writes. If her team had proper leadership, they would have been able to communicate with their associates more effectively and shape the data into something actionable.
From the Abstract to the Concrete
Lisa Kart, a research director at Gartner, says, "…a successful advanced analytics strategy is about more than simply acquiring the right tools. It's also important to change mindsets and culture, and to be creative in the search of success." Mindsets and culture are arguably what successful business analytics leadership hinges on. It's not enough to be able to crunch numbers. A leader and his or her team must be able to explain to their supervisors and colleagues what it is those numbers mean to their business.
Allen Graves writes about SCAGGS, an acronym from TechTarget for key things to keep in mind to be a standout leader in business analytics: Sell, Coordinate, Agree, Govern, Gather, and Standardize. The very first on the list, Sell, is the ability to "explain to others the value of business intelligence." To do this effectively requires a working knowledge of the marriage between data and business, and an MBA in business analytics is a great way to gain that knowledge in a way that will benefit any company looking to earn a profit in the world of big data.
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