The need for new skills in data

Big data analytics is set to become a key priority for many firms in the coming months and years. Therefore, one of the key questions that businesses will need to answer will be how to cope with the need for new skills and expertise in order to ensure they are making the most of new technology solutions.

Data scientists who can show they understand the complexities of this new environment will be in particularly high demand – with this interest set to come initially from larger enterprises that are dealing with unprecedented amounts of information. Chief technology officer of Kognitio Roger Gaskell explained to that these organizations will expect to employ advanced business intelligence solutions in order to obtain as much value as possible from their data.

He said many of these companies will be highly proactive when it comes to hiring specialist staff to assist with this. Personnel that can analyze data to predict the future state of the market and anticipate customer behavior and sales trends rather than reacting to them are set to be among the most valuable professionals businesses will aim to hire.

However, organizations need to make sure they strike a balance. Skilled data scientists are a rare commodity at the current time, so firms will have to make sure they understand how many they will need in order to deliver the best results for their organization without taking too big a slice out of their budget. Mr Gaskell said that in an ideal world, companies envisage having an army of data scientists working with their data, but in reality, this will usually prove prohibitively expensive for all but the largest enterprises.

Vice-president of business development and marketing at Kognitio Michael Hiskey added: “The feedback we’re getting from customers is that they want just a handful – maybe three, or five, or seven – skilled and highly educated data scientists.”

The best-performing enterprises will then surround these with business analysts, who in turn are assisted by interns, so that the knowledge brought to a firm by data scientists can be passed down without companies having to commit large expenditures to hiring drives.

This hierarchy model has already seen great success at Kognitio, which has employed a solution it calls the Kognitio Analytics Center of Excellence (KACE), Mr Hiskey continued. In the coming years, as demand for data expertise grows, having this solid knowledge base will ensure that companies are in the best position to cope with the era of big data.

It was also noted recently by CompTIA that the use and technical retraining of existing business and financial analysts will be especially common in smaller firms that do not have the resources to hire dedicated big data professionals.

The firm’s recent Big Data Insights and Opportunities study found sales departments saw their involvement in big data-related projects climb from 17 per cent last year to 27 per cent in 2013. Over the same period, the number of research personnel participating in big data initiatives increased from 13 per cent to 25 per cent.

Director of research at CompTIA Tim Herbert told “Finding the technology to [take advantage of big data] is the easy part – it’s finding and nurturing the analytical talent and expertise that’s hard, and that will take some more time.”

Quoted from the story posted 07 November 2013.