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Some Job Functions Have to Catch Up with "Big Data"


Human Resources and sales are seen as lagging in analytical skills when compared with other organization functions, according to a study sponsored by American Management Association (AMA), a world leader in professional development and performance-based learning solutions.

The global survey, “Conquering Big Data: A Study of Analytical Skills in the Workplace,” looked at how prepared organizations are to compete in an age of Big Data and drew nearly 800 respondents from more than 50 industries. Among other issues, participants were asked to assess the analytical skills of their employees by corporate function.

Analytical Ability by Job Function

Nonexistent/ Basic Advanced/

Poor Expert





Executive Team








Research and Development












Human Resources




With a combined 58% rated as advanced or expert, Finance’s analytical strength was rated highest followed by the Executive Team with 51%. Trailing five other functions, HR and Sales had just 27% and 34% rated as advanced or expert in such skills.

“It’s not a surprise that analytics strength isn’t distributed uniformly across today’s organization,” said AMA’s Senior Vice President Robert G. Smith. “What is cause for concern is how deficient some functions are rated. As never before staff in every function need to be savvy when it comes to analytics. Professionals at all levels have to know what questions to ask and how to make wise choices based on data.”

Most organizations, according to Smith, are looking years ahead to identify what skills and competencies will be required. “Our survey shows that analytical skills will become even more important in the next five years. As a result, companies will need to ramp up training and development to hone those skills. It used to be okay that only a handful of experts in a company had analytical responsibilities, but no longer. Every function must have the right people with the right skills. While HR and Sales have the most catching up to do, the other functions are not where they need to be either.”

The study was sponsored by AMA and conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).

About AMA
American Management Association (www.amanet.org) is a world leader in talent development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. To support the growing demand by business, AMA has launched a new portfolio of Analytical Skills seminars. To see the full training portfolio or to register for a seminar visit: http://www.amanet.org/analytical

AMA is one of the most widely recognized leaders in business training, having provided corporate training solutions for over 95 years. From leadership, communication and managerial training to sales, customer service and analytical skills, AMA has developed a vast array of content and training solutions to help individuals and organizations achieve business results . Each year, AMA delivers thousands of seminars and courses across the United States. With courses offered in a  classroom near you or live online, AMA is a flexible, convenient resource for all of your organization's talent development needs. AMA also offers customized solutions based on your specific talent development requirements.