NEWS24 February 2022

AND Digital reveals data skills gap stunting business growth

B2B Behavioural science Data analytics News UK

UKAccess to the right data skills and an unsophisticated approach to using data is holding back London businesses’ ability to grow, according to a new report from digital transformation company AND Digital.

Conceptual image of data analytics

The report, Fuelling Growth in an Age of Data, reveals that almost three quarters ( 70%) of respondents admit that access to the right experts is stunting their ability to truly capitalise on data for growth. Nearly a quarter ( 22%) highlight that a lack of both in-house data skills and time to implement the right technology ( 24%) is also holding back businesses’ data aspirations.  

Signalling the importance of plugging this data skills gap, the report also found that 82% of the city’s decision-makers believe putting data at the heart of business strategy and plans has become even more important in the last 18 months, with 96% saying that a more sophisticated approach to using data would generate more growth.

Despite this, a quarter ( 24%) said the costs required to train and equip employees with skills in areas such as data analytics, data platforms, data engineering and data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning, is a concern.

As well as lacking the necessary skills to leverage data-driven opportunities and growth, over a third ( 36%) said that data security was their biggest barrier, while 32% highlighted that the cost of data collection, management and storage was a concern.

Unsurprisingly, confusion around data compliance and regulation were seen as barriers for over a third ( 36%) of decision makers. Some 72% of respondents also admitted they lack the right technology to be considered data-centric, with almost 14% saying legacy infrastructure is holding them back.

Stephen Paterson, chief for consulting at AND Digital, commented: “In times of great uncertainty, it’s actually the ability to quickly codify business opportunities and processes into software and data that has supported many businesses in making the pivotal decisions that will shape their fortunes for many years to come. 

“However, as well as the importance of data, the report also reminds us of the vital role that people continue to play in an increasingly data-driven economy – after all, technology alone can only take us so far. 

“In an age where growth will be fuelled by the effective understanding, use and application of data, it’s vital that businesses do everything they can now to nurture and invest in an in-house talent strategy, placing data at the heart of business operations and opportunities.

“Those that make the necessary investments in talent now will gain huge competitive advantages in the near future. It’s with this challenge in mind that AND Digital has set itself the mission of directly improving the digital skills and knowledge of 200,000 people globally by 2025.”