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What to look for when hiring a BI specialist

Debarati Roy | Feb. 13, 2013
Be it cloud, mobility or business intelligence (BI) and analytics, the next wave of technology arrives long before the people who can help organizations manage and sustain those technologies do.

Be it cloud, mobility or business intelligence (BI) and analytics, the next wave of technology arrives long before the people who can help organizations manage and sustain those technologies do.

The going might get even tougher for those CIOs planning to adopt BI because it is an eclectic mix of not just technology and tools, but also of business analytics and statistics, and therefore, requires a firm understanding of the industry.

According to the State of the CIO, 2013, 78.7 percent of Indian CIOs claim that finding the right skill sets is the biggest challenge for their IT departments. While 56.5 percent of CIOs expect to complete a BI project within the next 12 months, 28.1 percent of CIOs are worried that BI/analytics talent is too expensive to hire, 23.0 percent say that training internal staff is time-intensive and costly, and 22.3 percent feel that software/less-technically savvy employees pose a significant challenge on their road to BI adoption.

While many might think that the role of a CIO in any BI project is to provide only the right tools and technology for business users to access information in whichever way they like, the reality is much different. Sheeresh Palekar, director-IT at Raymond, believes that the success of BI depends on two critical factors: The right technology providing the required information in the most effective manner, and detailing of business requirements for better decision-making.

"Compromising on either of these areas will lead to sub-optimal implementation and utilization. Hence, CIOs have to play an active role in defining the overall team for a successful BI implementation," he says.

Challenges in Getting the Right Skill Sets

While a large number of CIOs plan to embark on BI projects, most of them agree with the fact that there is not enough skill set in the market to address the technological needs. Some CIOs also feel that more clarity around what constitutes BI skill sets is needed.

Nilesh Sangoi, CTO at Meru Cab Company, says that a lot of people make a mistake by equating analytics with the tools or software package implementation and think it's an IT job, which is like missing the woods for the trees.

While the technical skills required to manage and maintain the software are easily available with the solution providers, it's the business analysis that is the tough nut to crack.

"The team driving the analytics should be well-versed with the science behind the data. They need to understand how people create and use information, get useful inferences from it, and apply the same in making business decisions. If this doesn't happen, the tools will just remain expensive toys for exhibition," says Sangoi.

 

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