Distributor Analytics Trends: Soft Analytics Skills Key for Everyone

Submitted on: Thu, 03.24.2016 10:55pm - Annie Eissler |

One of my colleagues here at MITS sent an article to the management team last night about how important people skills are when it comes to creating a mature analytics practice.

The premise of the article is that just about every company that wants to compete and win should have an analytics strategy and team, and that focusing on the “soft skills” (as opposed to technical chops) of your analytics team is often the secret sauce to success with analytics. Specific skills cited in the article include:
  • the ability and passion for asking the right questions
  • always looking for the simplest approach
  • the willingness to let go of preconceived notions, and being ok with being wrong
While I like the author’s emphasis on the importance of a person’s mindset and approach to using data to make better decisions, I would argue that these same soft skills are important for everyone to have—not just the “analytics team.”
 
And, more importantly, I believe these skills can be both cultivated and compensated for by the right analytics solution.
 
Let’s face it, most people, in most companies, are not data nerds. I certainly see this day in and out here at MITS where we help thousands of non-technical users in hundreds of distribution companies put their data to work every day. One of the most common objections we hear when discussing the benefits enhanced reporting and analytics can have on a distribution business (where there is a disproportionate amount of data compared to the number of staff available to make sense of it), is often that “our people aren’t technical or good with numbers—they won’t use a business intelligence tool.”
 
Guess what? This isn’t usually true. We find that if you get the right solution (and partner) and approach your rollout and training in the right way, your non-technical users won’t just use your analytics solution, they’ll embrace it and, dare I say, maybe even love it!
 
We’ll be exploring this topic more in the coming months. Check back soon for the latest on trends in distributor analytics.