Organisations unprepared for big data boom: report

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Organisations unprepared for big data boom: report

Companies urged to look for skills within existing teams.

The leaders of many Australian organisations don’t think their company is equipped with the skills required to make the most of big data, according to a report released today by recruitment firm Hudson.

The survey found 78 percent of 2500 Australian survey respondents felt ill-equipped for the big data boom.

Hudson’s Martin Retschko said a broader shortage in IT skills was part of the problem, but a big data skills set reached beyond the technology space, making this an independent trend.

“This is not just an IT skills issue,” he said. “It is an organisation-wide concern”.

He said it could be a while before a generally underprepared Australian business community caught up with the burgeoning trend towards big data analytics, meaning the skills disconnect could become a medium to long-term issue.

“We might be fine if there is significant update of skills development and education, but that is a big if,” he said. “There is a fairly sizeable number of people needed and it will take time for the industry to adjust.”

Some universities, such as Deakin in Melbourne, have already begun to put together course material that addresses the big data space. But Retschko advised organisations to look within the labour resources they already had to prepare for the demand in new skills.

“Maybe suggest to people who haven’t gone down this path before that they should be part of a particular project,” he said.

Together with a roundtable of 11 industry representatives with experience in using big data, Hudson has put together a list of ‘competencies’ employers and managers should look out for as indicating a possible affinity in the staff they already have.

A prospective data analyst should be a problem solver, have good business understanding, communication and analysis skills, and they should be an influencer and a skilled integrator, the report found.

Retschko brushed off the idea that an image problem based on the ‘big-brother’ threat would put people off pursuing a career in big data. He said there was broad recognition that “it is something that is going to have a positive impact on lives”.

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