When it comes to improving analytical maturity, changes to existing organizational structures and talent will likely be two of the CPG industry’s most significant challenges. The reason is obvious: ultimately it is people who make decisions. In the CPG industry, decisions at all levels of the organization require analytical talent to produce, interpret, and actually use analytics to make the best decisions. Considering the importance of having access to this analytical talent, there are several early warning signs of forthcoming challenges.
Big Data will further increase the need and demand for analytical talent
Analytical talent is already in high demand; however, with the emergence of Big Data the demand is projected to dramatically increase – from data analysts, to managers of analysts, to newer data scientist roles.
Labor projections indicate that the demand for analytically trained talent will dramatically outpace the projected supply for this type of resource. Projections like these are a signal to the CPG industry that they will not only be competing with one another for these resources, but they will be competing with all other industries as well.
Analytical talent in CPG is scarce and getting scarcer
The scarcity of and competition for analytical talent across all industries makes it important for the companies in the CPG industry to understand their current relative industry position.
To help, Deloitte performed analysis to investigate the following question – “The analytical talent pool is scarce across all industries (and projected to get significantly more scarce in years to come), so out of all the companies attracting these candidates, where are they choosing to launch their career?”
Deloitte reviewed two years of hiring companies from multiple full-time analytics programs at leading universities. The results were quite startling. Of the 115 companies, only 4 percent of the companies were CPG and retail, with only a single CPG company present on the list.
Although this is a sample analysis of a select number of graduate programs, the findings were very consistent with the feedback from the vast majority of CPG company executives interviewed as part of this research. The “number one challenge” pointed out by most CPG companies was the ability to attract, retain, and cultivate analytical talent.
Need to evaluate models for optimizing analytical talent
Considering early warning signs point toward an analytical talent shortage, CPG companies will need to think about how to:
(1) Attract and retain new talent
(2) Optimize the talent they currently have and are able to attract
(3) Look at new external models for accessing and leveraging analytical talent
These three recommendations are further explored in the following video segments.
Attracting and retaining analytical talent
In this video, Dr. Michael Rappa, Executive Director and Distinguished University Professor at the NC State Institute for Advanced Analytics provides his perspective on the factors companies should be considering when developing their strategies to attract and retain analytical talent.
Optimizing analytical talent and organizational structures
Over the last decade, the leading analytical CPG companies have improved their operational talent structure and approach, evolving from the power-user model to a competency-team model. However, even for these companies, there can still be opportunities to improve their talent model and organizational structures. The following video explores why previous models in the CPG industry have not been as effective as possible. The video also describes the need for analytical teams to focus more on supporting their business stakeholders with “Answers" vs. "Analytics.”
Broadening the partner ecosystem to access talent through other models
As demand for analytical talent in the CPG industry continues to overwhelm supply, CPG companies should start to explore new models for accessing and leveraging analytical talent.
One option to consider is managed analytics services, like those provided by consulting firms. The consulting industry is attracting a greater share of advanced analytical talent, while also providing continuous training for these resources on Big Data information technologies and data management techniques. Consulting firms offer an array of managed analytics services, from master data management services with full-scale hosting capabilities, to advanced analytical services, to domain-specific and industry-specific research and analysis services.
CPG companies should start to develop collaboration models and strategies that enable them to partner with external consulting firms to fill the inevitable analytical talent gap. These strategies should consider and explore various aspects of scope – from tactical support that allows internal resources to focus more on analysis versus administration of reports, to more strategic support whereby the consulting firm is responsible for driving and delivering insights. Case-in-point: In the last 18 months, Deloitte Consulting has seen a significant and growing increase in the demand from the market – including the CPG industry – for more of its managed analytics services and managed data / information management services.
CPG companies should also consider new and emerging crowd-sourced models for accessing highly skilled data scientist resources. (See this article, published by Tom Davenport, senior advisor to Deloitte Analytics.)This is an emerging option in which a CPG company can access a vast array –literally tens of thousands –of data scientists from the global data scientist community to help solve some of their most complex Big Data challenges. Companies such as Kaggle (www.Kaggle.com) enable this by incorporating prize-based models to incentivize the “crowd” to compete on a company’s specific data challenge. In the attached video, Jeremy Howard, the president and chief scientist of Kaggle, describes this new and emerging option for CPG companies.