Recently, I have sat in numerous conference rooms where the topic of the hour is how to use data effectively and how to build large, long-term storage systems for unstructured data to allow for optimal analytics. All agree that good storage is a pre-condition for using data for actionable intelligence.
But the questions around the boardroom table can’t stop at what data and how to store it… but must extend to who owns it? Who is the one to lead data quality programs?
Thomas Redman, writing in the Harvard Business Review, notes that organizationally, it is still IT which typically shoulders the responsibility—and the blame –for all things data.
However, best practices show that business needs to own the data. As the one-time president of the large Chicago finance firm Morningstar said, “We would no more have Tech run data than we would have Research run Tech. They’re different kinds of assets.”
From my point of view, IT may be able to identify and correct problems, but technologists can’t manage and analyze the data in a way to enhance a business process when they aren’t included in the team that handles the actual business process.
Right now, we’re up against some significant challenges. We see that employees across all functions are simply not well equipped to identify, define, interpret and use big data appropriately.
The solution is for organizations to have more people across-the-board with competencies to deal with the volume, velocity and variety of big data and with the know-how to interpret and share critical information across silos.
The need is urgent. With one in three decision-makers saying they make critical decisions without the information they require, the time is now to empower our employees to effectively use real time data for successful impact.
Survey after survey confirms the need to act now:
- More than half of decision-makers say they don’t have access to the information from across their organization to do their jobs well.
- 62% of C-level execs are frequently interrupted by irrelevant incoming data.
- 61% of C-level execs want faster access to data.
- 56% of all execs are overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages
(Above from Financial Post and Avenade survey of 543 businesses and IT executives)
At BTR we’re preparing for the growing demand for data scientists with proficiency in business and excellence in data mining, forecasting for analytics, computational analytics, and data warehousing.
We’re also recognizing that business now requires technologists who not only are experts in math, engineering and code, but who also to have a creative edge to partner with other teams. Business and IT must work together more closely than ever in an age where business intelligence and business analytics are drivers.
“It is increasingly the case that much of modern economic activity, innovation and growth simply couldn’t take place without the data,” states the McKinsey Global Institute report. The same report predicts that about 490,000 positions will require deep analytic skills by 2018, and another four million positions will require a good, if less profound, understanding of data and analysis.
First though, the data needs to be relevant and here is the crux of the issue. Those high-paid expert knowledge workers who are in great demand, as McKinsey confirms, are now spending an enormous amount of time on data cleansing at a basic level.
Billions of dollars are being spent on big data, and yet the ROI is being eaten up by huge time-wasters, such as miscommunication and redundant efforts because organizations fail to define, clarify and implement a common set of terms to ensure cross-departmental understanding of data and alignment.
Technology departments can take the lead here and entrench themselves in the business. This just makes bottom-line sense, saving dollars for the ever-pressured IT budgets and resulting in greater productivity and profit for the organization as a whole.
With that in mind, I have determined that technologists require several new skills that haven’t been essential in the past, but are must-have in today’s workplace. The IT pro needs a set of “soft” skills such as an open and curious mind when it comes to the business of their organization, patience, flexibility, agility and the ability to communicate with non-technical people in layperson terms. For example, we now know that data must be translated into a visual presentation to be effectively understood by decision-makers. As Dana Zuber, VP of Strategic Planning at Wells Fargo, notes, “A well-crafted thoughtful visualization makes the light bulb go off. You just don’t get that with a spreadsheet.”
Big data spells huge potential for IT pros to take on leadership roles across the spectrum. We’re in for an exciting 2014. To see what is hot for 2014, check out Computing Canada’s Hot Jobs for 2014 at
D: 416-847-4962; E: Joanne.Boucher@bagg.com; ca.linkedin.com/pub/joanne-boucher-cpc/4/945/94/
Joanne is the General Manager for Bagg Technology Resources, bringing over 20 years of industry experience in Project and Solutions Resourcing, Solutions offshore and near-shore for application development and data warehouse project delivery, Information Technology, Engineering, Management, Contract/Full Time Resourcing. Joanne’s goal is to deliver distinct flexible resource solutions to meet and exceed the requirements of her clients and candidates by understanding their goals and challenges, by leveraging technology and by respecting the intrinsic value of our each person she comes in contact with. Joanne believes that the relationships developed in resourcing are lasting and works with both resources and clients on long term plans and goals. This consultative approach has enabled her to be proactive in forecasting clients’ requirements and assisting resources with their career direction. To enhance her ability to understand the requirements of her clients, Joanne has enhanced her post-secondary education with Information Technology courses at Ryerson University. – See more at: http://blog.bagg.com/category/tech-news/