You’ve undoubtedly heard about Big Data. In fact, you’re probably hearing about it more and more with each passing day. As more people connect to their devices, and more devices connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), data about consumer habits and desires has become more important to a business than ever.
Any company that knows what’s good is scrambling to collect data on its users’ demographics, patterns of behaviour, and purchases. Mostly, this data has been collected, structured, and organised by data or analytics teams (if that business was forward thinking enough to have its own dedicated data teams, that is).
But as the importance of Big Data in scaling and growing a business becomes more apparent, so too does the need for a new role that deals strictly with taking data and turning it into a powerful decision-making tool. Enter the Analytics Translator.
What is an Analytics Translator?
The demand and value of analytics has never been so important to a business. It no longer makes sense to have a singular ‘data’ team creating algorithms and analysing the data to create tangible business value. In a crew of data scientists, architects, and engineers, it’s time to introduce a new team member – someone who thinks outside the box, has a creative vision, and has a mind that works beyond the computer screen.
Otherwise known as a ‘data translator‘, the role of the Analytics Translator is to consider a company’s aims and objectives and work with data engineers to produce those results. They need to have a deep understanding of the company, industry, and audience. They need to be good mediators, slightly tech-fluent, creative beings, visionaries, and logical thinkers. They’re not computer programmers, math-obsessed data-driven tech nerds, or engineers. This is a new role, for a new kind of person.
What does an Analytics Translator do?
To keep it simple, Analytics Translators do more than just look at data and read numbers. They create winning strategies behind those numbers, imagining new possibilities for a business and taking these ideas to management.
They look at presented data from different perspectives to consider how your company could be scaled and maximised. Traditional data and analytics teams are busy crunching numbers, collecting and organising data, and structuring information. They don’t have the time or mental capacity to go beyond the data and see everything from the bigger picture – that’s where your translator will step in.
Why your business needs an Analytics Translator
The whole idea behind an Analytics Translator is to translate your company’s data and analytics from a new point of view. The business-savvy and creative thinking of an Analytics Translator, coupled with their deep knowledge of your company and its industry, allows them to focus their attention beyond crunching numbers and looking at data. They turn those data insights into concrete, measurable, strategic actions.
While your team of data scientists & architects might be collating, sorting through, and analysing data, your Analytics Translator will be reviewing this analysis and data to identify patterns, trends, opportunities, and problems within your business. They’ll be spotting the trends, coming up with creative solutions, and go deep to strategies on targeted areas like production, distribution, pricing, and cross-functional initiatives.
Who needs an Analytics Translator?
Any and every business will find the value in an Analytics Translator. Well, any and every business that’s at the forefront of technology and looking to continuously expand, scale, and solve problems. If your business is collecting user data, you’ll find the value in an Analytics Translator. If your business requires a strategy that’s entirely unique, focused, and backed by data analytics, you’ll find the value in an Analytics Translator.
The fact is, translating data takes a lot of time and painstaking effort. It’s not simply a case of looking at the numbers and spotting the trends. There are false starts, dead ends, a whole lot of vagueness and abstract thought required. There are data sets that are humongous and take months of review to pull out the valuable insights. The need for an Analytics Translator arose because businesses realised that this role requires independence and full-time attention. It’s not enough to tack on analytics translation to another role – there needs to be a new dedicated team member.
Where can I hire an Analytics Translator?
McKinsey & Company estimates that around 25% of projects will require an Analytics Translator, and that by 2026, the demand for translators will be around 2 to 4 million. With that said, there’s yet to be enough Analytics Translators out there to meet the required demand. Some companies have even created their own Analytics Translator academies to train employees due to lack of available employees.
So where can you hire an Analytics Translator for your business? Look internally. The most important trait of a good Analytics Translator is a thorough knowledge and understanding of your company and its goals. With that knowledge, the best port of call is to train an existing employee in data translation.
To help you with your selection, training, and identifying a good Analytics Translator candidate, here are the most important skills you’ll want them to have:
1. Domain Knowledge – Your translator needs to be an expert both in your company and its industry so that they can identify the value in your data. They need to know your key operational metrics and the effects on profit & loss, revenue, customer retention, and more. They need to understand your audience and its behaviour, the key goals for your business, and its operational structure.
2. Tech-Fluency – They don’t need to be strong tech-heads, but they need a good understanding of technology and structured problem solving. They don’t need to have formal maths, IT, or engineering training, but they need to have a good understanding of quantitative models and how to apply them to business problems.
3. Project Management – Your Analytics Translator needs to be able to efficiently manage a project from beginning to end, direct a team, and take an initiative from ideation through to production and adoption.
4. Entrepreneurial – Like most important roles within a company, your Analytics Translator needs a strong entrepreneurial spirit and business-savvy. This is something that cannot really be trained, but should exist naturally.
Can’t find anyone suitable within your team? Have a look on startup and tech job sites for proficient Analytics Translators who can quickly understand your business and its goals, and slip right in as part of the team.
Where can I find a job as an Analytics Translator?
Ready to take on one of the newest roles that’s going to skyrocket in demand? If you’re interested in a career in Analytics Translation, make sure you’ve skilled up on all the necessary skill sets outlined above. Recognise that this is an emerging industry, and you’ve got to showcase your value to a business in order to gain a position.
You can then either browse startup and tech job sites for an advertised position, consider starting your own dedicated Analytics Translator agency, or approach companies and personally pitch the idea of an Analytics Translator. Not everyone will have heard of this position, and many will need a good explanation to truly understand the value that you can provide their business.
What are the salary expectations for an Analytics Translator?
Well, that’ll vary from job to job, but knowing the value you will provide is the first step to ensuring a good salary. You’ll be putting in a lot of mental and creative effort in this position, and require a salary that makes it worth your time. Knowing how much you can help a business grow and scale will ensure you’re being paid your worth!
At the same time, if you’re a business, you need to ensure your Analytics Translator is getting enough bang for their buck. As we mentioned earlier, it takes a lot of dedication, creativity, and business knowledge to truly interpret data and turn it into meaningful, actionable insights for a business. You want your Analytics Translator to be adequately rewarded so they can keep scaling your business. Fair is fair!
My career in Digital Marketing started in 2010, and it’s been an endlessly evolving journey. The tactics to achieve online success are rapidly changing and I’ve always been amongst the first to try the latest tricks. Today, online business is focused around Growth Hacking and Content Marketing strategies.