Wanted: BI Stars

Demand for tech workers with that rare blend of analytics and business skills is on the rise. How companies are coping with the talent shortage.

Centerstone Research Institute built a team of business intelligence specialists for its four-year-old analytics division by hiring some new talent and bringing in some of its own IT and business workers and training them in the social sciences or technical skills they lacked.

But Russell Galyon, CRI's director of analytics, says he's now finding it tougher to expand the eight-person unit. Galyon says he can't find the unique combination of skills he needs in CRI's existing pool of employees, and he can't easily find that talent in the open labor market, either. Even a headhunter he hired to help with the search has found the task challenging.

"We get people who meet the tech qualifications, they have programming skills, but they don't have the skills to go into a meeting with a business owner and take abstract ideas and make them understandable," he says. "And that's hard to train for."

Galyon isn't the only one having trouble filling BI positions.

In a recent Computerworld reader poll, 46% of the 52 respondents said they are either currently hiring BI specialists or plan to do so in the next 12 months. Of those who are hiring, 71% said they feel that finding and recruiting BI specialists is either somewhat difficult or very difficult.

Don't expect it to get easier anytime soon.

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