In my experience of setting up and of being a part of internal and client-based analytics and knowledge-teams, I have learned that the structure of the team is critical not in defining the roles and responsibilities. It is also critical in the hiring process and in optimizing the search for insights.
There are three types of expertise that are needed to create a successful analytics team:
1. The Data Technicians, who gather, manage, and 'qualify'/'purify' the data one is getting - whether internally or externally
2. The Data Analysts, who take the information from the Data Technicians and analyze them using mathematics, statistics, econometrics and other techniques in response to questions and hypotheses
3. The Knowledge Integrators, who take the analyses, integrate them with other sources of information (such as consumer feedback, market evolution, business and brand lifecycle) and make them relevant to questions raised
All three are equally important and play a critical set of interrelated roles and responsibilites in the search for evidence-based insights.
One could be tempted to hire people who can do all three - but in my experience, it is difficult.
1. Finding potential candidates who can do all three roles is one difficult affair even with the help of experienced headhunters. They are a rare breed.
2. If one did manage to hire one who could do all three, I believe that one or two of the responsibilities could be sacrificed. And that is a great risk.
Setting up an effective analytics team needs great thought and foresight.