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Closing in on the data skills gap

Matthew Johnston, Area Vice President, ASEAN & Korea, Commvault | Nov. 10, 2016
While technology plays a big part in this equation, it’s not just the machines that make the magic happen, businesses need talented people equipped with a data-first mindset to transform your data into a powerful strategic asset.

Mining for talent within the business can have big payoffs and help bolster talent pools. However, to do this, enterprises need to build in flexibility and inter-department mobility that's founded in a skills- rather than role-based approach so that people can be effectively deployed to different roles and divisions, as and when the business need arises.

3. 'Acqui-hire'

One strategy that looks set to become a trend is 'acqui-hiring', where businesses acquire another company to tap the talent and skills of its personnel. According to a survey and whitepaper commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Cognizant, 37 per cent of companies plan to implement such measures by 2018, and 21 per cent of businesses surveyed have already done so . 

In India, a few emerging e-commerce tech companies, such as CommonFloor, Flipkart, Urban Ladder and, have done acqui-hires . It is not about hiring regular run-of-the-mill talent just to add to the workforce, rather, if there is commonality in the work done by two companies, then there is huge merit in bringing teams together.

4. Ensure that leaders exemplify a data-first culture 

Lastly, people need to stay ahead of the curve, not by being "faster or cheaper" but by developing, honing and capitalizing on the capabilities that are uniquely human and cannot be replicated today by automated software.

The key to organisation-wide data transformation begins with leaders and senior management as company culture is often instilled from the top-down. One approach leaders can take is to paint a desirable and clear vision of what digital transformation for the company looks like, and at the same time, actively seek and implement employee suggestions for new ways of leveraging data to generate positive business outcomes.

Many companies might consider hiring increase their millennial employee population in the hope that their data-savviness might rub off on less savvy colleagues. But it doesn't work that way -- senior management needs to lead this change, and cannot simply delegate the responsibility of building a digital culture down the line.

Ultimately, if data in the modern industry is the lifeblood of business, then having a workforce that fully embodies a data-first mentality and approach will drive innovation. 

Tackling the talent skills gap will not be solved in a day. Companies will need to invest in data training and re-training for the long haul, while partnerships among industry players, educators and the government will be just as essential.


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