Analytics is alive and growing in Toronto. This post summarizes what I know I know.

If you define analytics as being ‘the scientific method applied to data to generate sustainable advantage’, then there are three major concentrations of practitioners: finance, marketing and operations.

The financial sector breaks out into the risk management and the speculation fields. There’s a higher self-referential graph amongst the risk management people in insurance than there are on the banking side. The speculation analytics folks are at severe disadvantage against their New York counterparts. If there’s a thriving hedge fund section in our community, I don’t know about it.

Marketing is divided between startups, CRM vendors, agencies, and client side (which includes data mining and web analytics). There are very few deep pockets of specialization – but they do exist in social analytics, mobile analytics, and web analytics. Extreme subject matter experts in Omniture, Coremetrics, and Webtrends number fewer than 10. Subject matter experts in Google Analytics exceed 30, however, that’s not to be confused with ‘people who have google analytics on their blog’.

There’s a thriving operations section of analytics – supply chain/logistics, transportation logistics, and internal operations. I also lump the impressively large gaming analytics (online gaming and gambling), and the minuscule dating optimization folk into this space.

There’s variety and specialization in analytics just within Toronto. And it’s pretty awesome.

The best way to break into analytics is to practice analytics. People who practice analytics in a context specific to something they enjoy are more likely to enjoy success and attract attention.

The best way to find somebody who knows analytics is to attend an industry event. They are frequent and welcoming.