Even before the phrase “business intelligence” was coined, senior business leaders knew the value of having access to the right information at the appropriate times, and jobs available in decision and information sciences often support those business needs. Growing companiew rely on information that is derived from both internal and external data sources to maintain competitive advantage in the marketplace. Some career fields within the category of decision and information sciences that are most often used for data gathering and analysis as well as process improvement are supply chain management, management information systems and operations management. Here are a few examples of career opportunities that await qualified candidates within the career category of decision and information sciences.
Enterprise Systems Analyst
Enterprise systems analysts assess company back office and production processes and suggest improvements based upon supply chain and operations management theories and business process engineering models. These analysts are able to look at processes at the enterprise level with the help of powerful enterprise resource planning software and other technical tools. The results of their analytical work could be automation of administrative and human resource management functions or the consolidation of redundant operational procedures. Ideally, enterprise systems analysts produce information products that improve the quality of internal services and customer care, lowers fixed production costs across the enterprise and reduces the amount of product defects. Enterprise systems analysts are categorized as management analysts by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS found that these analysts earned median annual salaries of $78,600 in 2012, and have faster than average projected job growth rates through 2022.
Operations managers are responsible for planning, facilitating and implementing the production operations of all types of businesses. Their job functions span elements of financial management, operational risk management and organizational leadership. An operations manager helps to ensure that daily operational tasks and back office activities are conducted as efficiently and cost effectively as possible in support of their company’s mission. According to the BLS, operations managers earned median annual salaries of $97,270 in 2012.
Strategic Sourcing Specialist
Strategic sourcing specialists gather business data from a variety of sources and derive information that is used to find appropriate vendors for their manufactured end products or services. For example, a perishable specialty food service company that wants to expand their operations into international markets must find vendors within a specific geographic area that can provide high quality raw materials within strict time periods. The business information that is produced by strategic sourcing specialists also equip them to negotiate the best purchase agreements with the industry’s top suppliers. The BLS categorizes strategic sourcing specialists as purchasing managers, and these business professionals earned median annual salaries of $60,550 in 2012, but the projected growth rate for these jobs is slower than average. Salaries and projected job growth vary by a number of factors including actual job functions, position location and the industry supported.
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Companies have always needed information to improve the quality of their products and services, and advances in information technology has given these organizations more ways to gain the required information at much faster rates and at lower costs. While computer applications and systems make data readily available, organizations still need skilled decision support and information scientists to synthesize data into usable information for company decision makers. Subsequently, jobs available in decision and information sciences usually pay well and have great projected employment growth rates.