According to an EY report, data and analytics technologies rank first on the list of near-term investment priorities for 53% of senior executives. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the global consulting firm surveyed 1,668 senior executives.
Despite broad data ambitions, nearly one-fifth of executives (19%) cite a lack of analytics and IT talent as a barrier to implementing data-centric strategies.
In-house talent has become a preferred option for companies looking for people with the necessary analytics and IT skills. Seven in ten executives said they are committed to reskilling efforts, but one in three admitted that their companies’ upskilling programs are ineffective.
The analytics boom puts CIOs and other C-suite executives under pressure to staff dedicated teams, improve data literacy, and identify data mining, administration, and analytics talent. While some of this demand can be met through recruitment, upskilling and retraining initiatives can provide a portion of the solution.
Hiring this type of talent has become more complicated as the lines between data scientists and modern software engineers blur, with all major players competing for these highly sought-after resources, stated Stephanie Nashawaty -SVP as well as chief customer innovation officer at SAP North America, in an email.
Analytics insights are shared enterprisewide in the data-centric paradigm favored by companies that EY classifies as “exceeding expectations” in their use of big data. To achieve this, businesses must cultivate digital talent throughout the organization, increasing the demand for data literacy throughout the workforce.
Analytics skills are required across business functions, not just in the IT team, to gain a competitive advantage through effective use of data, IT trade group CompTIA’s VP for certification product management – Teresa Sears, stated in an email.
According to a CompTIA 2021 analysis, three major factors driving the analytics boom are AI, predictive analytics, and customer personalization. According to the EY report, companies are turning to a multi-pronged workforce development strategy that emphasizes upskilling efforts to supplement traditional recruitment and retention programs in order to compete in these areas.
However, data and analytics training programs are difficult to implement.
According to Seth Robinson, VP for industry research at CompTIA, in an email to CIO Dive, the most in-demand skills are in the highly technical areas of data infrastructure, data security, and database administration. The most difficult aspect of developing a data skills training program is addressing the needs for both data infrastructure and data analysis.
From her position at SAP, Nashawaty sees the talent development issue from both an internal and external standpoint. She claims that the CIOs she works with at other companies are “deep in the throes of a talent shortage.”
Nashawaty advocates for a multifaceted approach to closing the talent gap. When specific skills are in short supply at SAP, she employs a how-they-can-grow strategy rather than a what-they-know strategy to find talent. It allows you to cast a wider net and look at talent pools you may not have previously considered, she explained.