Tuesday, 06 December 2011 22:23

Boosting the value of analytics professionals


The industry body representing Australian analytics professionals is boosting their value with predictions that they are going to be even more highly sought after - even in hot demand - over the next seven years as the use of analytics by business continues to grow.

Describing analytics professionals as 'modern day knights in shining armour', the Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA), says that with the digital universe now measured in zettabytes, 71 percent of marketers unprepared for the data deluge and predictions of a 50 fold increase in data inflows, 'those in analytical positions are already in high demand - a trend that's predicted to see 60 percent more positions than can be filled by 2018.'

According to IAPA president and director of Deloitte Analytics, Doug Campbell, successful businesses will be those that 'excel at collecting, managing and analysing the proliferation of data to deliver insights that constantly improve business performance.'

Established in 2006 as a not-for-profit organisation to support and encourage analytics professionals, the IAPA now claims a membership of 1,500 members, up from an initial membership of just 300, and Campbell says the increase in membership is reflected in increasing demand for those with analytics expertise.

'Data analytics is not new, it's not the new black,' Campbell notes.

'Since the early days of decision support systems in the 60s, businesses of all sizes have been using available data to improve decision making and gain greater insights into business.   You don't need a huge capital outlay to drive significant business improvements.

'Analytics is the classical black - it's always been in fashion for the best performing organisations that recognise the influence data can have on the future. Transitioning from hindsight to foresight assists future operations planning, removes cost and improves customer service and supply chains.'

According to Campbell, new analytical technologies coupled with advances in computing power have helped enormously but 'analytical skills coupled with business process improvement are the key to unlocking the value from this data.' 

Campbell cites examples of business insights gained from analytics by Australian companies, including Telstra realising a 15 percent improvement in some of its recent retention campaigns; Commonwealth Bank improving internet fraud loss to turnover ratios by 80 percent; a wealth management firm using artificial intelligence to analyse vast datasets to determine behavioural customer segments; an airline discovering a $25 million tax benefit through data analysis; and a water provider analysing massive data streams to assess current and future trends to grow and retain customers.

With its membership growth and the increasing demand for analytics professionals, the IAPA has relaunched its website as an online hub for members and those interested in analytics, and Campbell says the website - www.iapa.org.au - provides a 'community' for those in analytics professions and those interested in analytics.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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