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Big Data, Big Innovation: Enabling Competitive Differentiation through Business Analytics by Evan Stubbs

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Chapter 7Human Capital

Change is inevitable and business analytics is a profession of change. The domain has and will continue to change—as our data grows exponentially, the real game is moving away from sheer brainpower to being able to harness and reduce complexity. Having the right answer is only the first step. Without the right supporting systems to act on that answer, it’s all wasted effort.

That doesn’t necessarily preclude sophistication or highly advanced analytics. What it does instead is encourage focus on developing the right competencies, tasking people with the right objectives, and structuring the organization in a way that allows it to foster, retain, and develop talent. By focusing in the right areas, the leadership team can hire the right people, establish the right incentives, drive efficiencies, and nurture the right behaviors.

One of the reasons it’s so hard to find the right people is because of the breadth of the field. Business analytics is a spectrum that ranges from relatively simple information management to highly specialized fields such as operations research or machine learning. Assuming people with different skills are substitutable just because they work in “analytics” is a recipe for disaster. Much like building a house requires more than just a carpenter, most of these skills are not interchangeable.

That in itself is a challenge—without the right domain knowledge, hiring someone with highly specialized experience can be a shot in the dark. ...

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