Australian organisations sitting on a trove of customer data are seeking big-data experts to make sense of it all as technology improves and companies finally start to figure out how they can use their information to improve their business.
Big data has been a known value creator for some time – Ebay, Google and Target are some notable examples – but recruiter Hudson reports that Australian organisations like NAB, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank and Specialty Fashion Group are starting to make headway in the field.
Hudson surveyed Australian business leaders from retail, finance and public sectors about their plans for big data, and who they were looking to hire. Here’s what they said:
Paul Baron, Group Manager, Online Marketing, Tourism Victoria
Imagine this role as requiring something of an artist and a scientist at the same time people who are very creative … might be slightly imperfect in the way they work in the organisation, but you can really get a lot from their ideas.
Romesh Lokuge, General Manager, NRMA Motoring Service
I’m keen on redefining business intelligence (BI). BI has traditionally been within IT; I think it’s evolving into a different space today, aligned more closely with strategy and the business.
I see BI as the big umbrella, and capabilities such as analytics, big data, research and measuring performance are the ‘how’ you create business intelligence.
I see business intelligence as an emerging discipline that creates value For an organisation: sustainable value which could help grow revenue, reduce costs, improve the company brand, improve the customer experience and lift employee engagement.
Paul Ormonde-James, Head of Data, Insight Services Capability and Commercialisation, Australia Post
The people here have multiple backgrounds — you have technology, you have finance, you have marketing … I think the trick is actually how do you make some money out of this, because if you can’t make any money out of this why are you doing it?
When I recruit, I don’t look for the smartest PhD I can get. I actually need a different set of skills: I need people that can work in a rapidly changing environment, can think on their feet, are innovative, and can think outside the box.
It’s no good copying ideas; it doesn’t get you the leap frog you need for competitive advantage. [I need] people that are not only numerically competent but can discuss, reason, talk and communicate.
Dr George Margelis, General Manager, Care Innovations
Medicine has been embroiled in big data for years. We’re now in a position where we’re actually starting to use big data for personalised health care and that’s really where my area of interest is: how we take data and actually make decisions around individuals.
It’s all about the actions of the data, not just having the data, and hopefully we’ll learn something out of this.
The intelligence is only going to be of value if someone actually actions it it is a tool for decision-making unless you’ve actually got a personality who is willing to make a decision.
You can give them as much data as you like — they could be sitting on gigabytes of data. Without an action it’s just background noise.
Michael Hendricks, former Citibank APAC Head of Decision Management, former Sensis Group Manager, Marketing & Business Insights
I worked for Citibank, which has a global function called decision management. I reported to the local CEO so my peer was the business unit head for the consumer finance business of the retail banking business, and I sat around that table.
I find that the best people I’ve had in big data roles understand KPIs, are focused on the numbers and where the organisation is going.
Those analysts that can set goals, do performance measurement and buy into the strategy of a large organisation are the ones you need.
Hudson said big data was still an emerging field so it would be difficult to recruit analysts based on their qualifications alone.
Candidates with backgrounds in IT, construction, marketing and engineering were most likely to suit big data roles, based on their work prefences, Hudson reported.
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