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Analytical Skills, Tools &

Attitudes 2013
Analytics capabilities needed
now and in the future
October 2013
Research conducted and written by:
Lavastorm Analytics – a global analytics software company that enables a new, agile way to analyze, optimize,
and control data and business processes.
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Table of Contents
I. Executive Summary.......................................................................................... 3
II. Methodology....................................................................................................... 3
III. Key Takeaways.................................................................................................... 4
IV. Survey Results.......................................................................... ……………………… 5
V. Description of Survey Respondents............................................................. 16
VI. About Lavastorm Analytics.............................................................................. 22
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Executive Summary
Organizations continue to invest more in analytics, but increasingly there is recognition that a
shortage of analytic talent is holding back even greater investment. Lavastorm Analytics polled
more than 425 people in the analytics community about whether their organization needs more
analytic resources or skills and which skills are valued most and are most urgently needed.
Survey respondents included business analysts, technologists, data analytics professionals,
managers, and C-level executives across a broad variety of industries. The top findings were:
According to the survey respondents, a lack of skills/training/education is the biggest
factor holding back organizations from using analytics more.
Skills most urgently needed in their organizations are Statistics, math or other quantitative
skills; Analytic tool training; and Critical thinking.
Lack of funding or resources, however, also has a significant impact on adoption of
analytics to drive day-to-day decisions. Lesser factors also include inadequate support
from executives and data that is not integrated.
Methodology
In order to gain the most accurate insight into the market, we conducted our research within
major analytic communities, including LinkedIn’s Lavastorm Analytics Community Group,
Data Science Central and KDNuggets. These communities have a global reach of over 100,000
analysts that offer a diverse membership of analytic professionals across a variety of vertical
markets.
This survey was conducted online using an electronic survey tool. More than 425 business
analysts, technologists, data analytics professionals, managers and C-level professionals were
polled across a broad variety of industries—including financial services, telecommunications,
healthcare and software & internet. After the survey data was collected, the data was analyzed
using the Lavastorm Analytics Engine to identify variances among different demographic groups.
Every survey participant was encouraged to answer every question.
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Key Takeaways:
1. Nearly 83% of respondents indicated that analytics is critical to their organizations
and their organization uses analytics to drive day-to-day decisions more than past
experiences, intuition and gut feel.
2. The biggest factors holding organizations from using analytics more are:
Lack of skills/training/education (18.75%)
Lack of funding or resources (17.82%)
Inadequate support from executives (9.7%)
Data is not integrated (8.8%)
3. Skills most urgently needed in their organizations are:
Statistics, math or other quantitative skills (47.7%)
Analytics tool training (40.3%)
Critical thinking (28.2%)
4. Statistics, math or other quantitative skills and critical thinking/questioning were the skills
mentioned most often as necessary for the respondent to be successful in their role.
Database or query language, analytics tool training, and business/presentation skills were
also highly valued skills.
5. The most common organizational structure related to analytics is that business
departments and IT both have analytic resources and they function independently.
6. Requirements gathering continues to take a significant amount of time. People spend just
as much time gathering requirements as they do in analysis/data mining.
7. Though education is needed, ongoing education for analytics is largely not tied to external,
analyst-related organizations. The overwhelming majority of respondents, regardless of
industry and population group, have no organization they rely on for ongoing education
and networking.
8. Tool-related improvements, including improvement to self-service tools, the data
warehouse, and BI platforms, were cited as the changes that would make respondents’
job easier and more valuable (23.3% of respondents). Other changes mentioned often
included changes related to the following categories:
More resources and funding (13.3%)
Increased awareness of the opportunities to apply analytics, including the use of Big Data (13%)
Data integration improvements (12.6%)
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Survey Results
Select the response that best describes your reaction to the following statement,
“Analytics is critical to my organization’s business strategy and drives our day-to-day
decisions more than past experiences, intuition, and gut feel.”
427 Survey Responses
Demographic analysis:
Overall, all industries and all groups have a positive outlook on their organization’s use of analytics. Healthcare is
the most skeptical industry – 12% either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement.
People from the Software & Internet industry were the most optimistic – 62% strongly agreed with the statement.
Data Scientists and Executives/Managers disagree most with 17% and 9% respectively responding with either
strongly disagree and disagree.
Data scientists were the most skeptical population segment– 17% either disagree or strongly disagree.
Strongly Agree
42.7%
Agree
40.1%
Neither Agree nor
Disagree 10.0%
Disagree 6.0%
Strongly Disagree 1.2%
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What is the biggest factor holding your organization back from using analytics to drive
more day-to-day decisions?
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
Time
Politics/people afraid of redundancy
Fast changing environment
Demographic analysis:
By company size
Small Companies most often selected lack of funding or resources as a factor (26%). It was also the segment
that most often indicated Inadequate Support from Executives (12%).
Large (19%) and Medium Companies (24%) most often reported a lack of skills/training/education as a factor.
By industry
Lack of skills/training/education was the most often mentioned factor for both the Financial Services and
Software & Internet industry.
Lack of funding or resources was the most often mentioned factor for both the Business Services and
Telecommunications industry.
In the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical industry, inadequate support from executives was the most often
mentioned factor.
By population group
Twenty-three percent (23%) of Executives/Managers thought that lack of funding was a major factor.
IT developers (35%) most commonly mention lack of skills/training as a major factor.
Compared to Business Analysts, Data Scientists more often mentioned inadequate support from the business
(9% vs 3%) and software and tools are under-powered (9% vs 5%).
Business Analysts struggle with data integration more than Data Scientists (11% to 2%).
Lack of funding or
resources 17.6%
Lack of skills/training/education
(either for specific analytic
techniques or specific tools) 18.8%
Inadequate support from
executives 9.7%
Software and tools are too complicated 2.1%
Insufficient data/information
presented in reports 1.6%
Inadequate means to present analytic insights
to executives in ways they can trust 3.0%
Inadequate access to
data 5.1%
Data is not integrated 8.8%
Poor data quality 6.0%
None - no factor is holding us back 11.1%
Other (please specify) 3.0%
Inadequate support from the
business organization 5.1%
Software and tools are
under-powered 3.9%
Inadequate support
from IT 3.9%
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Select the response that best describes your organizational structure related to analytics.
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
We are a very small company wholly focused on analytics - 3 full time people
Chaos
Sporadic analytics resources in departments, none in IT
Demographic analysis:
More than 60% of respondents say their organizational structure for analytics places analytic resources in both
business departments and in IT.
Regardless of company size, the organizational structure used is most often one where business and IT groups
function independently. However, large Companies are more likely to have independently-functioning business
and IT groups as their model (44%) than Small Companies (28%). In addition, Small Companies are most likely to
have analytics centralized within IT (19% compared to 7% for Large Companies).
Analytic resources are
centralized within IT 14.9%
Analytic resources are
centralized outside of IT
19.5%
Business departments and IT both
have analytic resources and they
function independently 36.4%
Business departments and IT both have analytic
resources and they function collaboratively 26.0%
Other (please specify) 3.3%
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Do you agree with the following statement? “My organization has a shortage of people
with the skills to analyze and glean insights from data.”
427 Survey Responses
Demographic analysis:
While most people thought they are doing a good job of using analytics to drive decision making, 66% either agree
or strongly agree that they have a shortage of people with the skills to analyze and glean insights from the data.
Financial Services and Healthcare (73% and 77%, respectively) had the highest percentage of people agreeing that
there is a shortage of talent.
Telecommunications (24% either strongly disagree or disagree) and Business Services (21% either strongly disagree
or disagree) thought that they were in the best shape.
Agree
39.2%
Strongly Agree
26.2%
Neither Agree
nor Disagree
17.4%
Disagree 13.7%
Strongly Disagree 3.5%
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What analytic skills does your organization most urgently need to increase?
Select no more than 3.
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
Modern big data technologies
Programming skills
Requirement gathering and commercial orientation
Suitable software - related skills
Demographic analysis:
The most urgently needed skills for Medium Companies were statistics, math or other quantitative skills,
database query, and tool training as needed skills.
Small Companies (23%) were more than twice as likely as Large Companies (10%) to need organizational/
planning skills.
Data scientists and Executives/Managers mentioned statistics, math or other quantitative skills as an urgent
need more than other groups (64% and 52%, respectively).
IT Developers were the only group to list analytic tool training as their top choice.
Respondents in the Telecommunications industry (16%) mentioned Excel skills and experience more often than
other industries.
Respondents from the Healthcare (38%) and Software & Internet (40%) industries mentioned critical thinking
more often than other industries.
Critical thinking
Statistics, math or other quantitative skills
Database or query language skills and experience
47.8%
40.4%
31.8%
28.1%
16.2%
None - at the moment we do not need to increase
the analytic skills of our organization
11.6%
11.1%
10.2%
7.2%
5.1%
4.9%
3.3%
Analytics tool training
Business communication/presentation skills
ETL skills and experience
Industry certification in Business Analysis
Industry experience
Organizational/planning skills
Excel skills and experience
Prior business analyst experience
Negotiation skills
Other (please specify)
15.5%
15.3%
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What are the 3 analytic skills or experiences that are most necessary for you to be
successful in your current role? Select no more than 3.
Critical thinking/questioning
Statistics, math or other quantitative skills
Database or query language skills and experience
43.6%
41.7%
32.3%
31.4%
26.9%
Design skills for user interfaces and reports
20.8%
17.8%
17.3%
15.0%
13.8%
9.1%
8.9%
7.3%
1.2%
Analytics tool training
Business communication/presentation skills
Programming skills
ETL or data integration skills and experience
Industry experience
Organizational/planning skills
Excel skills and experience
Prior business analyst experience
Negotiation skills
Other (please specify )
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
Conceptual modeling
Lower level e.g. Unix scripting skills
Experience of the business
Time management
Sales
Demographic analysis:
Large Companies (34%) were less likely than Small (47%) and Medium (42%) Companies to select statistics, math
or other quantitative skills as an important skill.
Large Companies (27%) value industry experience more than Small and Medium Companies (both 19%).
Negotiation was twice as important in Small Companies (12%) than Large Companies (only 6%).
Respondents from the Telecommunications and Business Services industries mentioned tool training more often
than other industries (39% and 36%, respectively).
Data scientists thought statistics, math or quantitative skills (74%) were their most important skills.
Business analysts thought that database or query language skills (39%) and critical thinking/questioning (38%) were
their most important skills.
Executives/Managers thought critical thinking (52%) was the most important skill.
IT thought statistics, math or quantitative skills (50%) as well as analytic tool training (50%) were their most
important skills.
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How did you spend your time over the past year? Indicate the percentage of time you
dedicated to the activities below. Your answers should add up to 100% and account for
100% of your time over the past year.
427 Survey Responses
Demographic analysis:
Respondents from the Telecommunications, Financial Services, and Software & Internet industries spent more
time gathering requirements than any other task.
Respondents from the Business Services industry spend more of their time presenting results (16%). Respondents
from the Healthcare industry also spend a significant amount of time presenting results (14%).
Business analysts spend the highest percentage of their time on requirements gathering and data analysis (17%).
Data scientists spend most of their time on data analysis/mining (19%), data modeling (14%), and data
transformations and integration (14%). They spend much less time on requirements gathering than Business
Analysts, Executives/Managers, and IT.
As expected, Executives/Managers spend most of their time on planning/strategy meetings, requirements
gathering, and data analysis.
Data analysis/mining
Requirements gathering
Preparing or presenting results/reports
14.1%
13.4%
10.5%
9.1%
8.3%
Training others to use results/reports
7.4%
7.1%
6.5%
4.8%
4.3%
4.0%
3.0%
2.2%
5.2%
Planning/strategy meetings with others
Filtering and organizing data
Administrative activities
Data modeling
Data transformation and integration
Making business decisions based on
analytic insights
Infrastructure design and implementation
Testing and tuning processes
Other (analysis related)
Other (not analysis related)
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Related to data access, what do you believe hurts or prevents your access to data?
(Check all that apply)
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
Business Analyst does not have access to DataWarehouse for mining
Lack of integration
Operational data systems not designed to retrieve/report/analyze information
Poor data quality
Lack of understanding the data
No problems
Demographic analysis:
By company size
Data governance policies by IT was more often mentioned as a factor in Large (44%) and Medium (40%)
Companies than Small Companies (30%).
Inadequate self-service tools/report was more often mentioned as a factor in Large (42%) and Medium (44%)
Companies than Small Companies (28%).
Lack of skills/knowledge was more often mentioned as a factor in Large (32%) and Medium (32%) Companies
than Small Companies (24%).
Lack of APIs was more often mentioned as a factor in Large (31%) Companies than in Medium (22%) and Small
Companies (19%).
By industry
Respondents from the Business Services and Software & Internet industries report that incompatible formats/
lack of data model (42%) is the factor that most hinders data access.
Respondents from the Healthcare industry report that inadequate self-service tools/reports is the factor that
most hinders data access.
Respondents from the Financial Services and Telecom industries report that data governance policies by IT are
the things that most hinder data access.
By population group
Business Analysts (45%) and Data Scientists (47%) said data governance is the major issue.
Executives said lack of self-service tools/reports (44%) is the major issue related to data access.
IT developers said data governance policies by IT (40%) is the factor that hurts or prevents data access.
Inadequate self-service tools/reports
Data governance policies by IT
IT does not have the data in the data warehouse
Incompatible formats/lack of data model
Lack of skills/knowledge to use the tools/
reports that are available to me
Lack of APIs from operational systems
Other (please specify)
38.3%
38.0%
35.3%
34.8%
29.5%
23.7%
9.7%
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Select the option that best describes your reaction to the following statement, “Analyst
related certifications/degrees have been very important to my initial education, ongoing
education, and ultimate success in the field of analytics.”
427 Survey Responses
Demographic analysis:
Respondents from the Software & Internet (51%), Financial Services (49%), Business Services (45%), and Telecom
(45%) agree most that analyst related certifications/degrees are important to their initial and ongoing education.
But, many respondents weren’t sure whether they were a help or not.
IT Developers are the group that most agrees that certifications/degrees help them (70%) gain success in analytics.
Strongly agree
18.1%
Somewhat agree
30.6%
Do not agree or disagree
27.8%
Somewhat disagree
13.2%
Strongly disagree
10.2%
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What analyst related organizations, if any, do you rely on for ongoing education and
networking to help you in your job? (select all that apply)
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
SAS certificates
American Statistical Association
INFORMS
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
Coursera
University courses
Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP)
We educate our own people. Formal education is outdated.
Demographic analysis:
Financial Services has the least reliance on analyst-related organizations for education and networking (69%).
Only 36% of Business Analysts carry a certification from the IIBA. But that is much greater than only 18% of Data
Scientists.
IIBA Certification was more likely in Large Companies (15%) compared to Small (4%) and Medium Companies (5%).
More respondents from Small Companies (76%) than Large (58%) and Medium Companies (57%) said they did not
rely on analyst-related organizations for ongoing education and networking.
None - I do not rely on any organization for
ongoing education and networking
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
Certified Business Analyst
TDWI Certified Business Intelligence Professional
(CBIP)
IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional™
(CBAP)
IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis™
(CCBA)
BSC (formerly ISEB) Certificate in
Business Analysis Practice
Other (please specify)
63.6%
12.5%
12.3%
11.8%
7.2%
3.3%
9.7%
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What is the biggest change you would like to see in your organization to make your job
easier or more valuable?
Note - This survey question was open ended. Results were categorized by Lavastorm Analytics after the survey
responses were collected.
427 Survey Responses
Better tools/Self-service Tools/Warehouse/
BI Tools/BI Platforms 23.3%
More Alignment of Resources
and Funding 13.3%
Increased Awareness/
Opportunities of Analytics/
Big Data 13.0%
Data Models/Data Integration/
Consistency in Data Across
Systems 12.6%
Data-based Decisions/Data Governance/
Data Ownership/Trusted Data 7.2%
Data Quality 4.9%
More Training 11.4%
Collaboration/Communication/Process Flow/
Strategy/Project Issues 11.2%
Need Change in Business Infrastructure 10.0%
Management/Executive Buy-in/
Culture 8.4%
Data Access 7.4%
Need More Analytics/BI Professionals 4.9%
More Data Sources 2.3%
Agility/Flexibility/More Time for Analysis 1.4%
Other 10.5%
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Description of Survey Respondents
Which of the following best describes your role within your organization?
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
Owner
Big data analyst
Data analyst
Market research
For demographic analysis, the following additional aggregations were used to analyze the survey responses:
Executives/Managers = sum of responses from Corporate Executive (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.); CIO or IT Executive;
Department VP, Director or Manager; VP or Director of BI/Analytics
Corporate Executive (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.) 2.8%
CIO or IT Executive 2.1%
Department VP, Director or
Manager
15.3%
VP or Director of BI/Analytics
8.6%
Business Analyst
22.0%
Data Scientist
10.9%
Business Systems Analyst
6.3%
Business Process Analyst 1.4%
IT Developer 4.6%
Consultant
11.8%
Other (please specify)
14.2%
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What education levels have you completed?
427 Survey Responses
Doctoral degree (business or
non-technical/quantitative major) 2.3%
None of the above 4.4%
2-year college degree (Associate’s) 4.4%
4-year college degree (technical
/quantitative major) 26.7%
4-year college degree
(business or non-technical
/quantitative major) 18.6%
Master’s degree (technical/
quantitative major) 23.9%
Master’s degree (business or
non-technical/quantitative
major) 29.9%
Doctoral degree (technical
/quantitative major) 6.7%
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In your organization, to which department do you report?
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
President
Analytics
Board
Business unit
Risk
Finance
8.6%
IT
29.9%
Sales
5.3%
Marketing
10.4%
Operations
16.7%
Other (please specify)
29.0%
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How many total people work in your organization?
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
For demographic analysis, the following additional aggregations were used to classify the survey responses:
Small Companies = sum of responses from Fewer than 100; 100 – 249 and 250 – 499
Medium Companies = sum of responses from 500 – 999 and 1,000 – 10,000
Large Companies = 10,000 +
Fewer than 100
16.9%
100 – 249
8.8%
250 - 499
6.5%
500 – 999
11.4%
1,000 – 10,000
29.9%
10,000+
26.5%
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How many business analysts or data scientists work in your organization?
427 Survey Responses
What are the annual revenues of your organization?
427 Survey Responses
Less than $50 million 17.6%
$50 million - $100 million
6.0%
$500 million - $1 billion 7.4%
$100 million - $500 million
9.1%
$1 billion+
29.5%
Unable to disclose
18.6%
Don’t know
11.8%
0
3.9%
1 – 9
38.8%
10 – 24
16.5%
25 – 49
9.3%
50 – 99
9.3%
100 – 499
12.1%
500 – 1,000
3.7%
1,000 +
6.5%
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How long have you worked in the field of business analysis?
427 Survey Responses
Less than one year
6.0%
1 – 2 years
8.1%
2 – 5 years
21.4%
5 – 10 years
29.0%
10+ years
26.9%
I have never worked in the field of
business analysis 8.6%
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Which of the following best describes your company’s primary industry?
427 Survey Responses
Other includes:
Marketing
Consulting
Automotive
IT
Agriculture & Mining 0.9%
Telecommunications
18.79%
Business Services 7.7%
Computers & Electronics 3.0%
Education 6.5%
Energy & Utilities 2.1%
Financial Services
14.4%
Government 3.3%
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, & Biotech 9.1%
Manufacturing 2.3%
Media & Entertainment 1.6%
Non-Profit 1.2%
Real Estate & Construction 0.9%
Retail 3.0%
Software & Internet
10.4%
Transportation & Storage 1.4%
Travel, Recreation & Leisure 0.7%
Wholesale & Distribution 0.7%
Consumer Services 1.2%
Other 10.9%
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About Lavastorm Analytics
Lavastorm Analytics is a global analytics software company that enables a new, agile way to analyze, optimize, and
control data and business processes. The company’s products provide analysts with programming powers previously
limited to IT to rapidly unify disparate data, easily construct complex analytics, and effectively deliver actionable insight
and results. Analytics built in Lavastorm can easily be deployed as persistent solutions and applications, providing
continuous analytic monitoring across multiple systems and complex, data-intensive processes. Lavastorm’s solutions
have identified business improvements worth billions of dollars for some of the largest corporations in the world.
For more information on Lavastorm Analytics or to download a desktop edition of the Lavastorm Analytics Engine,
our data analytics software for business analysts, please visit www.lavastorm.com or
www.lavastorm.com/resources/software-downloads-trials, respectively.
www.lavastorm.com
© Lavastorm Analytics, 2013. All rights reserved.