What Employers Now Want In Data & Analytics Leaders


Chief Executive | March 1, 2016

Information Management published a bylined article by Russell Reynolds Associates' Justin Cerilli titled "What Employers Now Want In Data & Analytics Leaders." The piece looks at the increasing demand for Data & Analytics leaders and the top leadership qualities needed in today’s market. The article is excerpted below.  

Data & Analytics leaders are in increasingly high demand. Four years ago, executive level interaction with data teams was virtually non-existent, but today 20% of Fortune 100 companies now have dedicated Data & Analytics leadership.

In 2015, Russell Reynolds Associates partnered on more than three times the number of Data & Analytics searches than in the year prior, and expects the trend to repeat itself in 2016 based on January’s activity. Since the development of the first senior Data and Analytics positions, heads of Data have been primarily tasked with data quality, enablement, and governance, and heads of Analytics have been primarily responsible for driving marketing and customer insights.

While the original priorities for these leaders have remained critical components of the role, the scope of expectations and definitions of success have significantly evolved. The majority of organizations, across industry sectors, originally concentrated Data & Analytics efforts on externally focused impacts (marketing, customer experience, etc.), but analytics is now being used, in equal measure, to optimize business processes across the entire business.

In addition to driving decision making around growth and cost efficiencies, analytics leaders are now tasked to use data & analytics to drive employee enablement, cross-selling, operations improvement, culture change and innovation. As a result of this new direction the skills demanded of Data & Analytics leaders are changing as well.

It is more important for Data & Analytics executives to be change agents than to bring sophisticated technical capabilities to the role. Ranked in order of importance by leading Data & Analytics professionals , the top leadership qualities in today’s market are:

  • Navigating political environments: Stakeholder management 

  • Storytelling: Communication skills

  • Innovation

  • Executing capabilities: Operations

  • Commercial Acumen

  • Technical Depth

To read the full article, click here.

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What Employers Now Want In Data & Analytics Leaders