Interview with our CEO, Pt. 2: the future of the Analyst role

I got a chance to sit down recently with our CEO, Craig Scribner, to ask him a few questions about his past work as an analyst and about the factors that prompted him to found Claravine. Click here to read Part 1, about founding the company.
JR: You’ve worked as an analyst for most of your career. How do you see the role of data analyst changing?
CS: With an increasing number of tools like ours, I hope to see analytics folks move away from being data compliance gatekeepers and become core players who provide insight. That’s always been a bit of a pipe dream, the thing we were promised when we were hired, only to discover after the fact that we were janitors and not scientists.
When I was interviewed for my job at HP, I was told I’d help them derive insights from their data. Instead, I became a maintenance worker — toiling full time just to make sure the data wasn’t a total mess. There are so many ways the data can stray that it’s a constant battle. Once that problem is resolved, the analyst role can become one of actual analysis. For too many people in the profession, that continues to be a paper promise, but it doesn’t have to be.
The truth is, almost all organizations have other priorities than to have perfectly clean data. If an organization is ripe to take advantage of data, I think that’s where you’ll begin to see the analyst role change, and it will be driven from the top.
I teach a college course on data analytics, and last week I hosted a guest lecturer: the senior data analytics manager at Overstock. She told a story about a recent conversation with the top brass, who wanted certain reports and analyses. It was her job to tell them that their current data collection doesn’t support the analysis they were asking for. She felt like it hurt her credibility a bit, but it also gave an impetus within the organization to make clean data a priority. I think that will drive a change in the Analyst role. To succeed, you will not only have to evaluate the data, you will have to be fluent in speaking both business and tech.
Web analysts have seen a lot of changes even in their young field, but they’re ready for more. They’re eager to see future changes that put the analysis back in their jobs, turning that paper promise into reality, and enabling them to make meaningful contributions to the success of their companies.

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