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07 August 2017

Data-skilled talent is in demand, Tableau expert says

Data has become more valuable than oil. Picture: David Crosling

NOT only has the advent of big data created new in-demand jobs but it is transforming established jobs and how they are done.

People in almost every industry and level of business will need to be familiar with data and analytics to do their jobs well, says technology evangelist Alan Eldridge, from data software company Tableau.

“The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, it’s data,” he says. “In fact, analysts have identified that the lack of data-skilled talent is one of the biggest challenges for organisations across our region.

“Big data and analytics has applications across verticals like telecommunications, banking, financial services and insurance, government, manufacturing, retail, education and healthcare.

“Many of the issues that businesses are facing today are data-driven, and the right use of big data and analytics platforms can help to turn those issues into opportunities.”

More than half (55 per cent) of analytics professionals surveyed by the Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) say they are targeting big data analytics as a skill for improvement. It is the most commonly cited skill, followed by machine learning and artificial intelligence, digital analytics, business leadership and management, and communication and influencing.

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Camiilla Champion de Crespigny and Bee Nguyen are not professional data analysts but use data analysis in their jobs. Picture: David Crosling

Camiilla Champion de Crespigny and Bee Nguyen are not professional data analysts but use data analysis in their jobs. Picture: David CroslingSource:News Corp Australia

Eldridge says data analysis uses technologies such as predictive analysis, trend monitoring, real-time data visualisations and dashboards to convert business and customer actions into quantifiable insights in areas such as consumer behaviour, sales effectiveness, revenue management, supply chain management and marketing campaign efficiency.

“In the same way that use of Office applications has become a basic skill for prospective employees, data computing and self-service data analytics skills are now being added on to that very same list as more businesses seek to hire and train individuals with these skills,” he says. “Individuals need to be training themselves – whether that be with online tutorials or evening classes or meet-ups – for self-service data analytics skills.”

Although data provides insights to replace gut feel, the human element of decision making should not be dismissed.

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“Data, analytics and software should enhance the human’s intelligence, not to replace it,” Elderidge says. “We still need our human judgment to interpret, understand, compare and contrast and ultimately make the decisions.”

Data is now the world’s most valuable resource. Picture: David Crosling

Data is now the world’s most valuable resource. Picture: David CroslingSource:News Corp Australia

House of Home operations assistant Camilla Champion de Crespigny uses data in the retail sector to maximise customer experience.

“(A lot of my) day is devoted to search engine optimisation (SEO). This will involve using Tableau dashboards to explore how our customers research and purchase products and what keywords they use,” she says.

“Data is extremely important in my role as it tells us where we are performing well, where we’re not performing perhaps as well as we could, and opportunities we are missing.”

Colleague Bee Nguyen works as a customer service assistant and also uses data analysis in her day-to-day work.

“As our data processing gets better, what is really going to be exciting in the future is our ability to provide a personalised shopper experience,” she says.

“This will be based on all the accumulated data we’re receiving and implemented progressively. It’s really exciting!”

READ MORE EMPLOYMENT NEWS IN THE CAREERS SECTION OF SATURDAY’S THE COURIER-MAIL, THE HERALD SUN, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH AND THE ADVERTISER.

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