Finding the talented labor resources to solve the increased scarcity problem in data and analytics (D&A) is becoming mission-critical for companies around the world, according to technology research and consulting firm Gartner, as revealed in its 2022 list of the top D&A trends.
The company pinned down three key areas that need addressing overall:
- Institutionalize Trust
- Augment People and Decisions
- Activate Dynamism and Diversity
The Lack of Data Literacy
Technology is again outpacing the workforce’s ability to understand and master its use. The chief deficiency comes from a lack of needed data literacy in most companies’ workforces. Employees across every industry lack the basic knowledge and practical understanding of how data is sourced and constructed, how to apply techniques and analytics to it, and how to implement AI-powered analysis into use cases, applications, and future business decisions. With Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) already becoming significant components of most companies – 86% of CEOs report it’s already considered mainstream technology in their offices – this is no passing fad, but the definitive way competitive business functions now and in the future.
The Gap Between Technology and People to Understand the Value of Data
Gartner predicts the lack of sufficiently trained professionals to fully employ data and analysis will continue for the majority of Chief Data Officer (CDO) organizations through 2025. The belief is that companies that have become hyper-focused on technology are betting on the wrong horse. No matter how good AI is at recognizing patterns and making recommendations, companies still need talented, trained human employees to understand the value of the data to make the best decisions on how it will create ROI for the company in the future.
Gartner promotes digital learning for companies to handle the widening gap between what they are technologically capable of and what their employees are capable of. The gap is widening rapidly chiefly because of the digital aspect of installing new systems without needing new hardware. Twenty years ago, implementing a new ERP system or switching from one workflow system to another was a long slog of upgrading hardware, buying licenses, and new hardware. These steps to implement new systems and processes would allow time for employees to start training on the new workflow. With tech now deliverable instantly by the cloud, that lag time has virtually vanished, and employees are falling behind as technology moves faster and faster.
A New Working Culture and A Matter of Security, Risk, and Trust
With a lack of employees who understand the process of data analysis powered by AI also comes the risk of companies losing their customers’ trust and their ability to remain transparent in their processes. This lack of cohesion can be amplified in the ever-popular remote working model. Allowing employees to work from home was deemed mandatory during the COVID-19 pandemic, but as most countries move past those uncertain times, the push to enable workers to occupy whatever space they wish during business hours is now seeing repercussions. With employees logging in to virtual servers and cloud environments from their homes, coffee shops, airports, hotels, and every place in between, connected governance goes out the window. The hard and fast rules of how data is viewed, shared, manipulated, and utilized on-site can fall by the wayside when employees venture off the premises, making data security a primary risk.
When AI models misrepresent, particularly without adequate staff to recognize the shortcomings, the risks mushroom into bad business decisions, including those that risk lives in hospitals, government facilities, power grids, and the like. The push to achieve value from substantial investments in D&A and AI is leading some companies to cut corners on best practices in developing connected governance throughout edge environments and distributed systems.
It’s another area where a lack of fundamental knowledge of data and its usage is causing employees to make decisions without knowing what they are risking. Upskilling the workforce and obtaining highly skilled expertise that understands data protection, sharing, and usage is necessary to keep companies from risking legal trouble, violating privacy regulations, and destroying the company’s reputation, not to mention limitations on return on investment.
Contact Swoon Consulting to learn how our Nearshore Data & Analytics solutions can help solve talent scarcity and upskilling gaps.