We live in the information age, when data flows freely and in all directions at a finger’s click on a keyboard.
But as more and more businesses are discovering, having great data is not the same thing as using great data effectively.
That’s why an increasing number of corporations are delivering analytical skills training through e-learning programs. This area of learning helps managers and other employees find good information, analyze it and the transform the data into the foundation for building strategies and making key decisions about growth opportunities.
In other words, it’s about making the information age work for your business, visualizing the trends and deciding on the best action plan for growth.
The era of making “gut decisions,” of deciding to move a company in a specific direction just because it “feels right,” is fading because too often it doesn’t work.
One of the first researchers to point that out was Richard J. Heuer, Jr., a CIA veteran of 45 years who wrote a book on analytical skills called Psychology of Intelligence Analysis.
After a thorough study of analytical skills, he concluded that some tools and techniques can take people to an advanced level of critical thinking and substantially improve analysis of complex programs.
Conversely, he discovered that our human minds are “poorly wired” to cope with uncertainty, and even being aware of our personal biases doesn’t really help to make accurate analysis without applying analytical skills.
Aspects of business that benefit when employees have analytical training include retail sales, financial services, marketing, collections, pricing, telecommunications, supply chain management, transportation and business growth, among others.
Some of the general skills your employees can acquire through e-learning courses in analytics include:
- Finding trends in large volumes of data
- Dealing with problems by exploring alternative solutions
- Solving programming challenges
- Devising effective processing systems
- Enhancing leadership skills
Such training also has the spin-off effect of creating an information culture within an organization.
American industry has long held a respect for the use of analytics in operating a successful business. Back in the 19th century Frederick Winslow Taylor used analytics in his time management exercises, and the great Henry Ford devised his brilliant assembly line strategy after gathering pacing analytics.