Data Analytics, Management

Top data skills that effective managers need

10 July 2020 by Heidi Marshall

Managers are increasingly under pressure to interpret and act upon data analytics, to drive better business processes, improve core operations, identify new opportunities, and stay ahead of the competition. Acquiring data skills is proven to make managers more effective.

In our research with leading organisations in the UK, we identified that managers and team leaders need to be able to:

1.  Understand how databases work so that managers can understand the context of their requests and resourcing of such tasks.

2. Validate data analysis – to enable them to effectively challenge and interpret the meaning of what they are being presented with.

3. Tell a narrative with data – to enable them to use data to influence and drive decision making.

4. Understand the cognitive aspects of how humans process information and therefore how to visualise data to tell a story.

5. Effectively communicate with data analysts/scientists – to enable them to steer and drive the analytics being made by the analysts/scientists, as well as challenge. The analysts and scientists often need those who are knee-deep in the reality of the operation to be able to properly communicate the context, to enable the data scientist to build a meaningful model/process.

6. Understand the link between the data and the real-world drivers – the ability to interpret a dashboard and understand what the metrics mean for the organisation and the opportunities they reveal.

7. Have effective decision-making frameworks – ultimately there is no point having the data, being able to validate, interpret and challenge it unless you know how to properly factor it into any decision you make. Decision making in organisations is often at manager level, so it is crucial they are able to understand and factor it in.

8. Know enough about data science to know what could be done – managers don’t necessarily need to know how to deliver a predictive analytics dashboard that forecasts when ice cream sales are going to be at their highest, but they probably need to know that it’s possible and what the value of it could be for them.

This research has been used to develop the Corndel Level 4 Data Analytics Diploma and is also being used to develop a Level 3 programme, specifically aimed at Managers and Operational teams, to equip them with the skills needed to turn data insights into organisational value. In addition we are supporting a number of our commercial clients with specifics workshops and courses.

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