Because our candidates trust our expertise and experience, they often ask us what we are seeing in the marketplace. If we can quote Jeff Zeanah, president of the Atlanta-based consultancy Z Solutions Inc., “It’s a good time to be a nerd.” Why?

Zeanah’s take on the matter: “The economy, by all accounts, is going to be slow in its recovery. And having to think harder about how to run your business is a real positive for the field of analytics.”

What are the biggest trends and buzzwords to keep an eye and an ear on?

Big data

Big data was probably the biggest story in analytics in 2012. The topic popped up at industry-related conferences everywhere, and the media couldn’t discuss it enough. But while experts agree that big data exists, they still question its significance and lack of focus. As an industry, there seems to be little consensus about exactly what it is and what can be done with it. So businesses will spend time in 2013 figuring out what it is and isn’t, what challenges it presents, where the real value is, and what they’ll need to do — architecturally and culturally — to tap into that value.


There was another positive trend in business last year that promises to attract more attention this year: integrating analytics into the business, or what Zeanah calls re-engineering. More businesses are looking to make analytics and data-driven decisions as a way to be more efficient and save money. Businesses are learning to ask better questions when it comes to business intelligence (BI) and analytics, and this will continue into 2013.

Getting more information, more easily and faster

The trend and consumer desire for devices and applications that can cross the personal/professional divide will continue. Not only are tablets and smartphones undeniably popular, but they shape the way people expect to access data.  Because of search engines like Google and easy-to-use tablet and smartphone applications, people in the workforce have expectations influenced by their own experiences. Companies that provide software that helps businesses quickly see their data in context are growing in leaps and bounds.

Everything old is new again

For companies to see success with any new trends in analytics, they’ll still need to master the old issues—like data quality, data governance and data integration. One success story that Zeanah points to? The presidential election. Obama’s win has been attributed in part to better get-out-the-vote efforts. Zeanah also characterizes it as an analytics battle. “… one group did a better job of collecting data,” he said. “And better data gets better results. That continues to be an unfortunately overlooked aspect of the whole business.”

Not everyone loves the Cloud

Businesses still have doubts about reliability, performance, availability, security and privacy, especially in the wake of high-profile outages. Since these issues need to be addressed, the rate of adoption will be gradual as big data and cloud product offerings mature and become more entwined. But it’s not a question of if; it’s a question of when.

A smart trend in data analytics is working with an experienced recruiter with expertise in the field—whether you’re looking for a job or looking to hire. Contact the data analytics recruiting experts at Smith Hanley any time, to see how we can help you find success.

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