What are Citizen Analysts and How Can They Improve Your Organization?

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Click to learn more about author Kartik Patel.

The days of data silos and isolated teams of data analysts and IT staffs are behind us. Today, every business user must incorporate accurate analysis into the decision-making process. Enter, the Citizen Analyst!

What is a Citizen Analyst?

Citizen Analysts (AKA Citizen Data Scientists) represent a new breed of business user. These business users have adopted business intelligence and advanced analytical tools to gather and analyze data from varied data sources and use that analysis to identify the root cause of problems, identify opportunities, solve problems and share crucial data to support business decisions. Citizen Analysts create and generate data models and use sophisticated analytics that are supported by easy-to-use interactive BI dashboards. By definition, Citizen Analysts are not data scientists, or professional analysts or IT staff. Rather, they hold varied positions within the business organization and use data analysis to support decisions made within their business role, team or responsibility.

In the past, business users would request reports and data analysis from an analyst or IT professional with defined report and analytical requirements and then wait for the results to be produced through data extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) or analytical expertise. Today, Citizen Analysts can leverage self-serve business intelligence, and advanced data discovery tools, to produce reports and analysis in a flexible, interactive environment, with drag and drop capability and guided, auto-recommendations for display formats and the type of analysis best suited for a particular purpose.

How Can Citizen Analysts Improve Your Organization?

By enabling data integration and ease of analysis through the organization, the business can cascade knowledge and skill and make it easier for every business user to complete tasks, make accurate decisions and perform with agility in a fast-paced business environment.

Business users can work with self-serve advanced data discovery and advanced analytical tools using a drag and drop interface, with no advanced skill requirement for statistical analysis, algorithms or technical knowledge. Users can gather, prepare, integrate and analyze data, find patterns and trends, share findings and apply to strategic, operational and tactical activities.

These tools take the user beyond data monitoring and simple alerts and thresholds to help them discover subtle and important factors and avoid missteps in projects, markets and customer satisfaction. Self-serve BI tools provide a truly intelligent solution that suggests relationships, identifies patterns, suggests visualization techniques and formats, highlights trends and patterns, and presents predictions, so the organization can promote and encourage Citizen Analysts and advance the objectives and goals of the organization.

The Gartner report entitled, ‘Citizen Data Science Augments Data Discovery and Simplifies Data Science,’ dated December 9, 2016 (ID G00314599) states that, ‘ Through 2017, the number of citizen data scientists will grow five times faster than the number of highly skilled data scientists.’ Clearly, Citizen Analysts are here to stay!

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