Data analytics are now a critical asset for companies. Organisations are increasingly turning to analytics for insights to optimise their operations and unlock more meaningful opportunities to serve their customers. Yet while companies are increasing their investments in analytic technologies, they are failing to make the same investments in a key component of the equation: their people.
According to research by IDC and Alteryx, organisations that invest in the upskilling of their knowledge workers enjoy higher returns on their analytics investments compared to those who don’t set up their workforce properly with the right training. Therefore, it is essential for every organisation and every leader to match technology investments by allocating resources to reskill employees.
Bridging the gap – Reskilling and upskilling workforce
Today, employees with strong data literacy and analytics skills are the most important asset to businesses looking to make strategic decisions with data. Analytics are no longer confined to a specific team doing a particular job. Everyone who makes decisions – no matter their rank – needs access to data and data analytics skills required to make informed business decisions. This means empowering all employees to read and interpret data so they can turn data into insights.
Another report from IDC and Alteryx found that 94 per cent of business executives believe that analytics are important for their organisations to remain performant. Yet only 20 per cent have achieved high analytics maturity. Keeping this in mind, many companies are realising the importance of reskilling and upskilling to cope with the changing nature of work roles and responsibilities.
To bridge that gap, we’ll see an acceleration of modern analytics learning opportunities, such as datathons and internal data analytics user groups, extending to knowledge workers within all lines of business. We also envision leaders enabling employees with “time on the job”, such as 10 per cent of their work week, to invest in developing new skills or something they are passionate about. By infusing fun, hands-on experiences and encouraging collaboration between technical data experts and knowledge workers, organisations and leaders will start seeing their workforce investments pay dividends.
Building a data-positive culture
When enthusiasm about data analytics reaches the entire organisation, it becomes a source of vitality. The components of a data-driven organisation go beyond a few successful analytics-led initiatives. An essential part of this journey is to move towards a culture where being data-driven is at the heart of the business rather than being an afterthought.
The commitment to upskilling employees will also lead to strong employee job satisfaction and engagement that can positively impact company performance over time. As employees drive increased value to the business through data insights, they also become more invested in the company.
Empowering the next generation
We know data analytics skills are in high demand at any given time. However, the skills needed to succeed in business today are outpacing the speed of learners graduating from higher education programs. This has resulted in talent shortages in areas like analytics and data science, with employees entering the workforce unprepared to meet the expectations of their roles.
While investing in the current workforce is a great first step, we’ll also see more organisations invest in their future workforce – from technical training to cross collaborations with education institutions to provide learning paths in areas where they experience a shortage.
As the demand for data, analytics, and innovative technology continue to grow and transform, business leaders need to modernise reskilling and upskilling methods to maintain their competitive advantage. Organisations that invest in the current and future workforce by building new learning opportunities and providing the right technology will become data-driven organisations that can drive innovation and transformation at scale.
Libby Duane Adams is Co-Founder and Chief Advocacy Officer at Alteryx.