What is a marketable skill set in the business intelligence industry?

BI is definitely a team job, and it demands many skills. But, it's scope is so far reaching that a diverse range of skills is required.

What kinds of skills are important for business intelligence (BI) professionals, or what is a marketable skill set in the BI industry?

Well BI is definitely a team job, and it demands many skills. But, it's scope is so far reaching that a diverse range of skills is required. To make it more definable, we've added some structure to this. We've divided the business intelligence (BI) industry into five key areas:

  • Leadership and management
  • Business analytics
  • Data analysis and design
  • Data integration
  • Admin and technology

For example, with leadership and management, it focuses in on integrating people, process and technology to deliver business value. It is a key success factor for BI and data warehousing programs and projects.

Business analytics, on the other hand, focuses in on the effective use of data and information to drive positive business actions and business outcomes. It is fundamental to achieving value from BI. It completes the BI value change, which connects information to knowledge, knowledge to actions and actions to outcomes.

Now, data analysis and design focuses in on understanding business needs for data and information. And, what it does is it translates those needs to the necessary data structure. It establishes the foundation for the delivery of BI applications, which depend upon these same data structures -- and these need to be adaptable, extensible and definitely sustainable.

Now data integration focuses on the processes to acquire data from disparate sources, consolidate it into an enterprise data resource and ensure data quality. It's fundamental to data warehousing and it's a vital process to provide a rich and robust data resource for delivery of BI applications.

Finally, administration and technology focuses on managing the infrastructure for data warehousing and business intelligence systems. It ensures continuous operation of BI and data warehousing systems, and the availability of the essential business information that the business relies upon.

So each of these areas requires knowledge of both business and technology – with the degree of knowledge depending on the discipline. An ideal business analyst, for example, attains a body of knowledge and skill that is approximately 70% business focused, and 30% technology focused. An administration and technology professional, on the other hand, has a strong bias toward technical knowledge, but they have to have sufficient business knowledge to apply and manage technology in a meaningful business context.

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This was first published in July 2007

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