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Will AI Replace Data Analysts?

Yang Li
Chief Technology Officer
Sep. 13, 2023

The argument around AI taking over jobs in different sectors has been active for over a decade. However, recent AI advancements, particularly the birth of generative AI technology like ChatGPT, raises more significant concern. These tools offer unlimited use cases for different industries, including the data analytics sector. 


Research shows that data stories will be the most widespread way of consuming analytics, and 75% of stories will be automatically generated using augmented analytics techniques by 2025. 


Before this time, analyzing and interpreting data required expert knowledge and technical tools. But with AI-assisted data solutions like Kyligence, organizations can democratize data analytics. That means you can chat with these tools, ask specific questions about your data like "Why were sales down in Q1?" and get a simplified explanation in natural language. 


If artificial intelligence can perform this kind of task at a faster and less technical pace, is it safe to say the data analyst role is now obsolete? No. This article will explain why and how to prepare for the future using AI technology to augment data analyst expertise. 


Understanding the Role of Data Analysts


At its core, a data analyst is a custodian of insights to guide stakeholders' decision-making processes. Their job involves managing the collection, analysis, and extraction of valuable insight from your company's data. Performing these roles requires them to complete tasks like cleaning data, managing data analytics software, and understanding databases. You might find data analysts writing SQL queries, creating data visualization reports, or writing Python codes for analysis algorithms. The analyst is an essential piece of the success of a business. They ensure you receive watered-down and easy-to-understand information about company performance.


Similarly, the data analyst also understands the best type of metrics to monitor and the data infrastructure that makes that possible. However, their role isn't without its fair share of challenges. Even with human expertise and business intelligence tools like Tableau, they struggle with a few things. Top of the list is maintaining quality data when analyzing large volumes of data. Human error is one factor we cannot eliminate from any activity involving an individual.


Additionally, analyzing extensive data and delivering information quickly or in real-time is challenging. Most business stakeholders want to swiftly understand different trends in real time or ask specific questions about a report. Data analysts cannot provide these real-time, flexible insights, especially when analyzing parameters beyond the regular touchpoints. These concerns have raised the question of AI technology replacing humans in recent times. Since most AI tools can perform these tasks, why should we hire human experts? While this might be the case, artificial intelligence isn't without limitations, as we will see soon. 


What are the Current AI Capabilities in Data Analysis?


Most data analysis activities require manually collecting, cleaning, and extracting insights from a dataset. These data are primarily in structured format and don't provide facilities for unstructured data like audio, images, etc. 


However, you can create machine learning algorithms to analyze all data types with AI. The algorithm or AI model is trained with data relating to a particular use case, like a sales forecast. Subsequently, the AI implementation can quickly deliver insights, identify trends, and give helpful output based on set parameters. 


Using AI in analysis also allows you to get insights in natural language. This feature means you can extract meaningful information from your data with minimal expertise. Kyligence Copilot is an AI-assisted data analysis tool that integrates these capabilities. Like talking to a data analyst, you can chat with your business metrics and get answers to your queries in natural language.


Additionally, AI studies unstructured data like audio, images, etc., and draws insights. Tesla uses such AI analytics implementation in improving their self-driving technology. The company collects navigation, voice requests, coordinates, and other data from these vehicles and analyzes them for growth opportunities. 


Another relevant implementation of AI in analytics is in the area of predictive analytics and forecasting. With AI tools, companies can analyze historical data, present trends, and market data to create future forecasts. Bank of America uses this predictive forecasting to understand equity market deals and their relationship with investors. Their analysis's insight helps them make targeted pitches for better results. 


Lastly, you can also use AI in data analysis for anomaly detection, like identifying root causes of downtrends in business. This feature helps to find solutions to issues before they become mainstream. 


Limitation of AI in Data Analysis


While AI has significant use cases, it also has some limitations. Firstly, creating machine learning algorithms and code requires human expertise. 


Even with the current OpenAI Code Interpreter plugin that allows you to create code, it needs an expert human to enter the correct query and parameters. Additionally, some of these tools might not deliver accurate results. Therefore, you need an expert who can ask insightful questions, make subjective judgments, and consider ethical implications. Furthermore, data analytics is an activity that also involves collaboration with other stakeholders, which requires communication. While AI can automate repetitive tasks, it cannot replace the empathy, creativity, and instincts that a human data analyst possesses. 


What's Kyligence for AI-Powered Data Intelligence? 


Kyligence for AI-powered data intelligence is software that allows you to enjoy the benefits of AI analysis for better business results. This innovative solution helps businesses to democratize data analytics for data-driven decision-making processes. With the tool's capabilities like Kyligence copilot, all stakeholders can chat with their data and get real-time insights and explanations about different queries. Not only does it offer a simplified version of data intelligence, but it also gives context to the answers. 


Adopting this tool as a support element for your data analyst will increase productivity and support collaboration across different departments. The Kyligence suite of products offers a unique advantage for enhancing workflow using AI, whether for data collection or finding root causes using the copilot feature.


How Can Data Analysts Prepare For An AI Future?


Regarding the AI revolution and how it affects data analyst jobs, there are two key things we can't ignore

  • AI isn't going to disappear into thin air anytime soon. So we might as well embrace it.
  • Data analysts who refuse to rise to the challenge and upgrade their skills might lose their jobs to AI intelligent analysts. 

In light of these main facts, here are some steps data analysts can take to prepare for the AI-augmented feature

  • Staying up to date on trends in the data analytics industry
  • Learning how to use and adopting AI tools like Kyligence Copilot for data analysis
  • Upgrading skills in machine learning to meet the needs of the specific use case they work on daily
  • Collaborate with other data scientists and analysts to get more insight into the possible use of AI in your daily routine. 

Final Verdict on the Future of Data Analyst Jobs in the Age of AI


Will AI replace Data Analysts? The answer is undoubtedly no. AI will assist/augment Data Analysts's work. Instead of worrying about the threats, we should open our eyes to the benefits it offers. With AI and human expertise powering your data analysis process, you get quality, efficiency, and personalized insights for better business outcomes. 


Tools like Kyligence copilot enables analysts to become AI-powered by offering real-time natural language response to your queries. Data analysts can cut the time needed to dive deep into many data fields, and focus on the most critical thinking part of the data analytics. AI-powered tools like Kyligence Copilot can help business users to perform self-service analytics so data analysts can save time from performing ad-hoc analysis requested by business users. Sign up on Kyligence to explore your business's full range of personalized AI-driven data solutions.