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Business Analytics: The Hottest IT Skill for 2015

Data is all around us today, driving a whole host of key business decisions. The organisations that excel and succeed in the modern world are undoubtedly those that can not only capture large volumes of information, but also tap into it to gain critical insights.

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In fact, utilising analytics of some description is now the norm in business – you will be left chasing the pack if you aren’t leveraging data correctly. According to Deloitte’s Analytics Advantage Survey, four out of five companies in North America, the UK and Asia said analytics is already supporting their corporate strategy.

Business analytics is therefore becoming a major priority for organisations – and is likely to be one of the hottest IT skills in demand for years to come.

Why analytics?

There are very clear reasons why IT professionals with analytical skills are so in demand, given the business benefits they can bring.

Nearly half (49 per cent) of respondents to Deloitte’s survey agreed the greatest benefit of using analytics is the enhanced decision-making it allows. Nearly one in five (16 per cent) said analytics appealed most to them as it enables better strategic initiatives.

And as the survey demonstrates, the growth of analytics looks like it will continue well into the future. Practically all (96 per cent) respondents believe analytics will become more important in their business over the next three years.

With analytics set to play an even more integral role for organisations in the years to come, it’s vital that companies have the capable talent on board.

Analytics tops the skills list

Insight from around the industry shows that analytics, or business intelligence (BI), is among the most highly sought-after skill sets in IT today.

Gartner, for example, surveyed CIOs and listed their top technology priorities for 2015, comparing global answers to those garnered specifically in Australia. While there were minor differences across the two lists, BI/analytics secure top spot for both groups.

Meanwhile, a global survey from IBM revealed the vast majority (83 per cent) of CIOs cited analytics – or “the ability to extract actionable insights from big data” – as their biggest investment priority.

It’s important to recognise, too, that analytics is no longer a skill required only by those in IT. Such is its prevalence in business that workers from other departments are having to master it. According to a recent Robert Half survey, nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of CFOs believe business analytics experience is essential for accounting and financial professionals.

Both companies and job seekers can increase their chances of success by finding a mutual match between their requirements and skills. As such insight shows, business analytics may be a priority for the majority of professionals moving forward.