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Effective data mining and analysis can provide a great advantage to companies who use them well. But it's not just the technology that determines how effective a company's data capabilities are, according to Tony Pericle, author of Transforming Data into Action: Using Analytics for Better Distributor Sales Decisions. "…It's a person I call an analyst. An analyst is worth their weight in gold," said Pericle, in Why Analytics is About People, Not IT.
Pericle likens the importance of an analyst to a mummy exhibit at a museum. The museum knew everything about the mummy – his age, what he was buried with, his health problems – all without ever having opened the casket. An analyst uses technology to reveal things that were previously unseen.
"Similar to how technology enables us to see what we were not able to see before, so it is with the right analyst," Pericle said. "What (businesses) need is someone that can surgically dive into the business and be this X-ray tool and say: 'Here's the reason why our margin is declining. It's in this one little are right here.'"
Investment in an analyst can pay off quickly. Pericle provides an example of a company that hired an analyst for less than $100,000. Within three months, through the efforts of the analyst, the company made that money back.