I am looking to hire a data specialist and want to get the right person. I want this person to own all of the data dashboards and be able to build them out, do all his/her own data pulling for the db, while also analyzing what comes back and exposing opportunity. I want this person to be a product person and think about what we can build. Is this asking too much?

Not necessarily, but the more you ask for the harder it is to find (and the more expensive once you do).

Any time I've been in the role of data specialist I've had insight in to product development and could see potential new opportunities as a result, but the main focus was always on creating analytics reports and tools that others on the team could use to measure performance, mine for new opportunities, etc.

You may want to consider a solution that gives more than one person the ability to perform analytics in a controlled way - without giving everyone full access to the database. There are a number of tools available that you can use to access and gather the data in a way that allows meaningful analysis by a wider range of personnel. Then the power of your analyst becomes their ability to come up with new data questions that feed the creativity of the whole team.

When you consider this approach, you might not even need a data specialist permanently/full time. If you outsource the development of a quality Business Intelligence solution the design and implementation should include a reasonable degree of flexibility so you and your team can ask more detailed data questions as they arise. This, and a little training could turn several members of your team in to data analysts.

Call me if you'd like to discuss more examples specific to your industry.

Answered 7 years ago

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