Debbie King - Jan 19, 2018

How to Structure Your Association’s Data Analytics Team

Having a data analytics team is essential for your organization to move forward with an analytics strategy and to drive a data-guided culture. Before you build your team and identify what roles you should hire and/or fill, you need to determine what your organization’s goals are and how data analytics can help you achieve those goals. It’s also good to recognize what responsibilities need to be created for you to attain those goals.

Another way to assess what roles you need when forming your data analytics team is to consider where your organization is in how they use data. Once you know those, then you can assemble a team of people to assign the projects to.

Here are 5 roles to consider when structuring your association’s data analytics team.

Data Analyst

A data analyst role could be quite versatile depending on how your organization chooses to define this position. This individual will have a data-guided mindset and a curious nature for understanding what the data is trying to convey. If your organization is looking for an AMS, this person could play an important role in the RFP process. Other responsibilities could include pulling data reports based on requests, ensuring data accuracy, and conducting data integrity audits. Besides having an analytical skillset, it’s also best for this individual to have strong relationship skills because she or he will be working with various members on the leadership team to communicate what the data is saying and provide recommendations on what to do.

Data Warehouse Manager

Think of the Data Warehouse Manager as a “gatekeeper” for your data. This individual plays an instrumental role in maintaining the data integrity and ensuring everyone is following data management best practices. If your organization doesn’t have a central data repository, then a data warehouse manager will lead the project in creating a single place where all the data resides. This person will also monitor the database to ensure the data is accurate and consumable for other staff members. This person could also assist in the development of written internal procedures that help with data upkeep and work cross-functionally to communicate these policies.

Database Developer

This role will work closely with the data warehouse manager and will be responsible for the actual creation of the database. It’s up to them to design a centralized database that is user-friendly, reliable, and effective. She or he will continually optimize the database and its functionality as the organization continues to grow and needs change. Depending on how your organization wants to define this role, this person could also have a hand in developing a data dictionary and catalogue. As with the other roles, this person will possess excellent communication skills and is adaptable. When building the database, it’s likely that last-minute changes will get thrown at this individual so she or she needs to be flexible. 

Chief Data Officer

Ideally, you want a data advocate to have a strong presence on the executive team. This role will spearhead the data management and analytics projects performed within their department or team. She or he will also play an integral role in making sure the entire organization understands that data helps drive growth and offers a competitive advantage. Following best practices for database management and governance falls into this role as well. And this person will advocate for that consistency, or it will be impossible to make the best use of the data.

This individual will be in a unique position to inspire a change in the organizational culture. He or she could encourage people to adopt a more data-guided mindset. Without this individual, it will be challenging to push for data to be treated as a strategic asset.

Big Data Visualizer

Think of this role as the “storyteller” of the team. This individual will take the data living in your warehouse and transform it into a visual and informative narrative that’s utilized by various departments. Since this person will be a “storyteller,” she or he could also be involved in writing proposals when wanting to get buy-in for a piece of technology.

Since this person will work with cross-functional teams to provide data visualizations, she or he must have strong communication skills and be able to explain data insights in different ways that resonate with their audiences. This will also involve developing and maintaining a collection of data visuals such as graphs, charts, and dashboards that other team members can access.

As with the previous roles, this person also ensures the data integrity of the warehouse. It’s a responsibility that can’t fall on solely on one team member. Everyone will play a part!

A Final Thought...

There you have it! These are the roles to consider filling when building your data analytics team.

Keep in mind that every organization is unique, and one way to approach it is by examining where your organization is in terms of analytics maturity. And if your association doesn’t have the budget for some of these roles, then that’s okay! Responsibilities can be merged into one role, and you can prioritize one responsibility over another. There’s no right or wrong way to structure your data analytics team. It’s ultimately up to your team to determine which roles are vital to the success of your organization. After all, it’s not the data that’s your most valuable asset. It’s the people at your organization.

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Written by Debbie King