Companies that have “data scientist” roles in their organizations are far more likely to succeed with analytics and data-driven decisions, new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and analytics firm SAS states.

At first glance, some of the research findings appear obvious. For instance, attracting, rewarding and integrating analytics talent into the organization are crucial for analytics success.

But dig a little deeper and the numbers are revealing. To wit, companies that have a “data scientist” role in their organizations are more than twice as likely to clearly prioritize data projects, and two-and-a-half times as likely to have a formal data strategy, the study of more than 2,500 business executives and senior managers found.

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If your business is just getting started with a data-driven focus, the study says you should build your talent bench using four key strategies:

* Look inside to tap internal talent--one big plus of developing analytics skills among current employees is that they already know the business.

* Focus on talent integration, not infusion--integrating new talent is a difficult but vital piece of the effort to gain value from analytics workers.

* Set up a buddy system--there are few miracle workers with every last necessary skill. It’s important to build complementary teams.

* Build a common core--make sure that you enhance the ability to consume analytical insights across the entire organization.

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