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Data is the new currency, talent is the new investment

Daniel Ng, Senior Director for APAC, Cloudera | April 21, 2016
Cloudera's Daniel Ng talks about the need for data talents, and provides advice on building the data workforce of the future.

Data talent crunch

It is obvious that we need to have the right data talents in place to keep up with this dynamic and ever-evolving environment. However, the fact is, industries are currently facing a data professional talent crunch across the globe.

In a recent BCG study, 35 percent of the company studied reported that a lack of qualified analysts and data experts hindered their efforts.  One respondent in the study commented: "We don't have enough staff for breakthrough and new capability work...only the basic running of the day to day".1

Closer to home, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) in Singapore has projected that the country will face a shortage of nearly 30,000 information technology professionals by 2017, particularly in the fields of cybersecurity, data analytics and applications development.

In Malaysia, the National ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Association (PIKOM) has said that the number of IT graduates produced each year, which numbers about 30,000, is not enough to cater to the growth of the industry. The Association also believes that the current workforce requires upgrading and upscaling.

Talent creation
It is obvious - organisations need to keep up as they now require talent devoted to keeping their fingers on the pulse of innovation and trends across the channels. To be successful, they will frequently have to look within as well as outside their own organisation to close these skills gaps and work with their clients, distributors and suppliers to hone the capabilities of the entire ecosystem.

For example, Nestlé rotates a dozen digital acceleration team members to work for eight months at a time in a state-of-the-art consumer engagement center at the company's global headquarters. Team members manage social communities for global brands, address fast turnaround projects focused on digital and social media, and learn through intensive training programs.

Their work area features a multi-media content creation studio and is surrounded by large screens streaming real time data showing how customers react to data online. Team members return to their local markets as digital leaders equipped to train and inspire others. Efforts such as this show how the world's best organisations are staying on top of new technology trends and upskilling their workers with the adequate skills they need to keep up in today's digitised workplace and industry.

On the industry level, more such efforts are required to allow us propel to the next phase of development. Policy makers, public sector organisations, academic institutions and private sector players will need to come together to create an environment where technology and data talent can flourish and thrive. To build the data workforce of the future, we will need an ecosystem where all parties come together and strategically identify, plan for and fill data skills gap. With the growth of talent being so valuable, it has now become a worthy investment area for countries, companies and industries across the globe.


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