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How upskilling your data professionals sets your company up for success

6 mins read time

Year on year, research shows that data roles are on the rise. In fact, Knowledge@Wharton found that the number of data science jobs has grown by an impressive 15-20 times since just 2017. On top of this, in 2012 just 12% of big organisations recruited Chief Data Officer roles, compared to 68% of organisations hiring the same or similar roles in 2020 (Forbes, 2020).

However, despite the significant increase in data-focused roles, it seems that not all businesses are utilising their data effectively. In fact, research by Sigma (2020) found that companies on average use just 12% of their data, meaning a staggering 88% goes to waste.

With the global pandemic causing a surge in online shopping, a company’s ability to create a data-driven strategy is becoming ever more vital. As we move into an ever more digitalised world, it’s clear that businesses need to make decisions based on data is only likely to increase exponentially.

Why do companies struggle to use their data effectively?

With the increase in data-focused roles, it should be questioned why firms are still failing to use their data optimally. A lack of training is likely to be one of the most obvious reasons. 93% of employers asked named a lack of processes and data skills as the biggest obstacle to utilising data, compared to lack of technology, which just 7.5% of respondents claimed was their biggest challenge (CDO Trends, 2020).

Data is a multifaceted area, covering collection, design, cleaning, preparation, analysis, visualisation, communication, and management, and a lack of knowledge and skills in just one of these areas can lead to a failure in data validity.

Another reason businesses are not leveraging the data could also be that firms are still failing to see the importance of data, as the 2019 Big Data and AI Survey found that 53% did not see data as a vital business asset and 72% of businesses claimed they were yet to establish an effective data culture.

93%
of employers named a lack of processes and data skills as biggest obstacle to utilising data
88%
of data being used by companies is going to waste on average
72%
of businesses claimed they were yet to establish an effective data culture
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Benefits of good data management

  • Higher profits: Learning the best way to measure and manage data has been found to make business more profitable, as BARC found that companies using big data were 8% more profitable and saw a 10% reduction in cost. Having the appropriate data can help make economically rewarding decisions and help prevent losses.
  • More confidence in business decisions: Employing a data scientist has also been found to increase business leaders’ confidence that they have the right data and insights to make important business decisions (GetApp, 2020). Business leaders no longer need to rely on personal judgement to make impactful business decisions - data allows stakeholders to analyse and forecast based on past and current figures.
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The benefits of upskilling your data employees

Investing in your data employees can help you reap the benefits of becoming a data-focussed business.

  • Keeping your employee’s skills up to date: There are often unknown gaps in employees’ skills that lead to trouble when collecting data, and one of these in areas of discussion recently has been that of data silos. Data silos relate to data that is accessible to one division of the business, but not another, leading to a lack of transparency, consistency, and efficiency in data leveraging. A lack of training can be a distinct cause for data silos, due to the proper processes not being in place or an understanding of how to collect data from different sectors of the business.
  • Clearly defining your data processes: Getting a clear picture of your overall data processes will mean that problems such as data silos can be eradicated to create a harmonious data management system. A clear process means that there is a level of consistency throughout that will lead to more reliable data.
  • Technology training: In a world where technology systems are always advancing, investing in regular training can be effective for making sure your employees are on top of how best to utilise technology.
  • Better communication with stakeholders: Another area of data training that often gets overlooked is how data gets presented to senior stakeholders. Without providing senior leaders with the relevant visual representation of the data collected, data can often go discarded or unused. Training can provide employees with the skills to visually represent the data and present this in a concise and effective way to senior managers.

     

Developing data skills through apprenticeships

One great way to develop your employees is through apprenticeships. Despite popular belief, apprenticeships are not just for junior employees, but can be taken at any point in someone’s career, including those in senior positions. They are an excellent solution to upskilling current employees due to the fact they include on-the-job training, and use an effective blend of practical skills and real-life projects.

Lifetime’s Data Analytics Level 3 and Level 4 programmes have been designed to provide delegates with all the tools they need to further their data skills and knowledge within any roles that handle data - whether that be IT, Customer Insights, Marketing, HR, Finance - or any other department in your business that handles data. The programmes’ practical approach means that your employees will have all the skills they need, for your company to reap the competitive advantages of data.

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At Lifetime, we know the importance of data. Our Essential Data programme is designed to embed data skills in your organisation, equipping your workforce with the necessary skills to effectively gather, validate and analyse data to help businesses make effective decisions.

Unlocking the power of data in your business