Posted on February 14th, 2013 by Vikram Kole
In a recent post in a very popular BI Forum, Business Intelligence Group, I found a discussion as below.
Hello everyone, I am student. I find Business Intelligence domain interesting and want to become a BI professional. Can anybody guide what should I do? Which course should I take after college?
I think everyone of us visiting different BI forums must have seen similar questions posted by students or even working professionals. Every time it gets me thinking, truly, what makes a BI Professional?
Many CIOs planning for a BI & Analytics project agree with the fact that there is not enough skill set available today to address the technological needs. It is time when more clarity is required around what constitutes BI skill sets. 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. Let us see characteristics of an ideal BI Specialist..
1. Data Champion – a BI Specialist must be passionate about data. They must 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.
2. Business Understanding –Business Intelligence is all about improving business opportunities, performance and profitability, as every other objective leads to these major aims. Ability to look at the big picture gives utmost advantage. Thus, a critical quality for a BI specialist is keen knowledge of business processes. Analytics by its very definition needs someone who understands the business and is a good business analyst.
3. Technical Expert – A BI Specialist is expected to be technical expert. Knowledge in field of databases and some level of query programming is an obvious criterion. But also overall understanding of technologies related to Business Intelligence domain is desirable.
4. Analytical Capabilities –While this one is a very obvious consideration, not mentioning it will keep this discussion incomplete. It is a given that a BI Specialist must be of analytical nature. A keen eye for details and deriving logical outcomes from available data is skill to hunt for. They are expected to be comfortable working with large set of numbers and a good statistical background.
BI is a mix of not just technology and tools, but also of business analytics and statistics, and therefore, requires a firm understanding of the industry. It is important to understand the job function the BI role will be filling. Depending on the responsibilities, industry experience may or may not be important. For back-end extract, transform and load (ETL) and data-intensive positions, someone who knows industry jargon is probably not as qualified as someone on the reporting side who is dealing with business users on a daily basis.