Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Why your business needs to create and develop Big Data skills from within


These days, one of the key needs for most businesses is the ability to react to changing market requirements in real-time. However, a predicted shortage of skilled big data analytics IT specialists could mean that many businesses keep failing to react quickly enough and lose out to their competition.

Real-time responses give you the edge

In the past, businesses had the luxury of changing at their own pace. Nowadays, the ‘always on’ internet, 24-hour rolling news, and the ability of social media to accelerate events, means a business that works in real-time will have a huge advantage.

CEOs and board members want to see when sales are up or down, or when teams aren’t performing, and demand that measures to solve these problems are put in place immediately, not two weeks or six months later when the problem has got out of hand. A new tool available to businesses helps them create real-time views of their business – business analytics (BI) and big data analytics allow a business to crunch huge amounts of the data received day in and day out from their websites, CRM systems, sales systems and ERP systems, so it can see exactly where it is at any time.

A shortage of skills, yet again

Unfortunately, the skills required for BI and Big Data are not easy to come by and those who are skilled in this area can demand high salaries. A recent survey by Teradata found that 42% of European businesses were currently looking to recruit data scientists and other big data analytics roles, with most of the pressure coming from CEOs and the boardroom. More than one-third (36%) cited the commercial potential of big data analytics in meeting their strategic goals as the key reason for recruitment.
Further digging into the survey data shows that businesses wanted not just big data IT skills, but also an intimate understanding of business. Thirty-seven per cent of the businesses surveyed anticipated that potential candidates would come from existing employees with business skills, with the majority (51%) of these working and reporting into departments other than IT.

While finding IT experts is hard enough for most businesses – a recent report by City and Guilds found that 74% of employers in the digital, IT and information services industry claim to be facing a skills crisis and are forced to look abroad for talent ­– the special requirements of big data, with its need for a mix of IT and business skills, makes recruitment even more difficult, even for a business with the deepest of pockets. 

The solution: hire an apprentice

However, the solution for most businesses is already within their grasp and it doesn't require them to spend huge amounts. Big data is largely in its infancy so most businesses have a few years in which to build their skills – and that timescale sits perfectly with an apprentice scheme. By taking on an IT apprentice through Firebrand and enrolling them on our big data courses, you can take young talented individuals either from within your business or recruited locally and mould them into the IT and big data experts of tomorrow.   

Visit Firebrand Apprenticeships to learn more about the scheme and how you can hire an apprentice. 

About the Author:       
Frank is managing director and partner at Firebrand Training. He has over 20 years of experience in business development, account management and IT training.