Mu Sigma Funding Puts Spotlight on Big Data Analytics

Woman Using Lots of DataData analytics company Mu Sigma has raised an additional $108 million. Based in Chicago and with a delivery center in India, Mu Sigma helps Fortune 500 companies gain insights from their massive stores of data.

Mu Sigma applies data analysis to marketing, supply chain and risk analytics across nine industries. It puts employees through three months of training on consulting, applied math, data modeling, statistics, economics and more. Those employees then work with clients to make the best use of their stored information.

It’s a hot field — and analytics will be among the five hardest positions to fill in 2012, according to an Inc.com. post by recruiting pro Keith Cline:

Analytics is becoming a central hub across companies where everything (web, marketing, sales, operations) is being measured and each decision is supported by data. Thus, we are seeing a high level of demand for analytics and business intelligence professionals who almost act like internal consultants; they help determine what should be measured and then build out the capability for a company.

A survey of practitioners of Big Data analytics by TDWI (report free with registration) found this role can have any number of job titles, among them business analyst, data architect, data scientist and BI specialist. But the report notes:

Almost one-third of survey responses (29 percent) were a mixed bag, describing marketers, consultants, statisticians, data governors, risk managers, and so on. This breadth of job titles is significant because it shows that analytics is not just for an analytic specialist. On the contrary, analytics is becoming a standard competency for a wide range of business and technology people.

Big Data analysis took top spot in the 2012 trend predictions by the International Institute for Analytics, a research firm focused on applying analytics to business. It listed a lack of talent among its top analytics issues for 2011, and predicted some slowing in demand this year. Said analytics expert Thomas Davenport:

However, there will be a special focus on analytics professionals with business and communications skills prior to another expected boost in overall analytics hiring from planned enterprise investments in data warehousing and in-memory solutions…

In line with Mu Sigma’s business, meanwhile, Informatica’s Darren Cunningham foresees 2012 as the year when analytics-as-a service finally takes off. With the dearth of talent in this area, no doubt companies will be looking to farm it out. To be successful, he says cloud-based analytics solutions will also have to offer integration-as-a-service capabilities to help companies derive a “single version of the truth.”

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