The changing role of the analyst: reports are dead, it’s all about data, right?

It used to be the case that data was interpreted by analysts to help them form insights that were then passed on to relevant markets to help them plan for the future.

Thanks to improvements in technology, this is no longer the case. Data has won the day and done away with the needs for analysts to provide that interpretation. Right?

Well, not quite…

Independent view

Why can’t data just work on its own? The answer lies not in the data itself, but how it is viewed.

The same data set can be interpreted in many ways – and just because an interpretation is based on factual evidence, it doesn’t mean it’s sound or without prejudice.

In a world where data is increasingly abundant, and easy to access, the need for unbiased, high-quality, third-party opinion is more pressing than ever.

There is also another issue to consider: the line about data superseding analysis in terms of usefulness assumes they are distinct forms when in actual fact the most compelling stories can be told when data and analysis work together.

Breaking down the divide

Or course, technology has made data more readily available and easier to read, but equally it has acted as an enabling force to bring the two strands of research together to enhance the overall package.

Smart publishing technology now helps analysts put together absorbing packages of content while at the same time enabling end-users to use this information in compelling ways.

It used to be the case that raw data would sit in a static chart in a slide deck and the end-user would have to draw-up their own documents bringing together content they found relevant or flick back and forth with a highlighter pen between sections as they made notes elsewhere.

Well, not any more. Powerful authoring tools built into a high-quality report publishing system enable end-users to manipulate data to help them highlight the parts they need. These elements can then be exported into bespoke reports created by the end-user, alongside relevant and related analysis.

Far from killing off reports and replacing them with data, technology has become an enabling force. It helps combine research, analysis, and raw data into neat content packages that can sit directly in the daily workflow of the end-user.

Reports aren’t dead, they’re evolving and becoming more necessary and user-friendly than ever before.