“Purple People” and the Future of Data Analytics

Posted 6th April 2022

Recent advancements in technology and artificial intelligence are driving the demand for Data Analysts in the workforce.

Brad Wright – Partner, Data Analytics at Deloitte Australia spoke with students and alumni on Monday as part of Carnegie Mellon’s Convocation speaker series about how businesses are moving towards insight-driven decision-making and why it’s a great time to get involved in this growing field.

There are huge opportunities in data right now across several domains

There has never been a better time to get into Data Analytics. Mr. Wright explained to students that we are moving into a new era of technology, where intelligent machines work in collaboration with humans. The AI landscape is growing rapidly, and organisations are eager to put this new technology to use in extracting meaningful data that can help drive decision-making.

Deloitte Australia also recently announced the launch of their Adelaide-based Centre for Innovation and Technology and are recruiting up to 500 new staff members – which could grow to 1000 over the next few years.

Asking the right questions is key

Mr. Wright emphasised that as technology use increases and drives expectations, more organisations are becoming insight driven organisations (IDOs). He explained that the three IDO pillars are:

  1. Asking the right questions.
  2. Doing the right analysis.
  3. Taking the right actions.

But before you worry about analysing data, you need to focus on what you’re trying to achieve. Organisations need to be specific about their goals and the information they want to obtain from data. “I challenge our business decision-makers,” Mr. Wright said. “If they can’t ask the question, how do they ever expect you to answer the question with analytics?”

Knowing what questions to ask – and what insights you hope to extract from the data – is the key to success.

Brad said that we're entering a new world where human collaboration is greater with machines.

Be a “purple person”

Mr. Wright also talked about the importance of “purple people” and why those looking to get involved in Data Analytics should strive to become one. He explained that “purple people” are people who have two sets of skills – specifically, business and communication skills combined with technical and analytical skills.

If you imagine that Technical/Analytical people are red, and Business/Communications people are blue, then “purple people” are people who can combine the two. Purple people are critical to an organisation because they know what questions to ask in order to extract meaningful insights from data.

Mr. Wright’s Top Career Tips for Data Analysts

Be a purple person. Complementary degrees can really come in handy here – for example, having a background in finance and data analytics, or health and data analytics.

Ask the right questions. Be curious and strive to understand the bigger picture.

Be a team player. Think about what you can do to make your co-workers’ jobs easier.

Always keep learning. You don’t need to know everything or have all the answers starting out!

Be a data entrepreneur. Think about where you can add value through data to solve problems. Help business leaders to understand what is possible with data.