From an email to me this week. Quoted with permission.
I’ve been doing this ‘data analyst’ thing for almost a decade now and I’m not even sure I’m doing it right. Does anyone really know what a data analyst is? I’m a Microsoft Access guy that got lucky and learned SQL from a bunch of very sharp devs. Then I got lucky again when I met [name withheld] and discovered [name of tool withheld]. Now I get to play with data in a creative way. I guess that makes me a data analyst. I know there are better da’s out there that write ugly SQL, but they get the job done so I guess it’s not about coding. I think we’re riding a wave right now. Old bi, New bi … it’s all blurring together. … I don’t know if I’m doing it right. I know that sometimes I help people and sometimes the work I do makes it easier for them to do the work they do. For me, that’s enough.
Like some about-to-be-deposed Middle East dictators, some IT people fear the barbarians at the door that Dave Wells hints at. In a recent interview with Information Management editorial director Jim Ericson, Dave talked about the "storm" about to overwhelm IT departments. Then there are the reactions to that.
When will someone write the first novel about business intelligence? Easier said than done!
Business intelligence involves the most triumphant stories. In the best cases, they meander all the way from "we were really screwed up" all the way down to "new knowledge, new profits." Yet too many case studies are too dry to stick. Marketers know that the human part of those stories is what makes them stick, yet it's hard to reveal anything publicly. Now a Financial Times writer argues that fiction — not non-fiction — is the best way to understand Libya under its dictator, so perhaps it's the best way to understand some organizations. So try fiction.
Data analysts, data champions, and others who analyze data are some of the most interesting and valuable people in business today. If you think you might be part of this group, please take part in my new survey. Go to www.datadoodle.com/analysts/. Later, you get a preview report.