In 1978, an emotional and dramatic award-winning documentary film was released titled “Scared Straight!” It profiled troubled teens who were taken into maximum security prisons to stand face-to-face with inmates who “explained” the harsh realities of life in prison.
The goal, according to the documentary, was “to keep at-risk teens from becoming tomorrow’s prisoners.”
Consider this an analytic scared straight moment.
We have a serious skills gap in the analytics field…and it’s getting worse.
A recent McKinsey Global Institute report indicates that over the next seven years the need for highly skilled business analytics workers will exceed the available workforce by as much as 60 percent.
And by 2018, an additional 190,000 "deep analytical talent" workers plus 1.5 million more "data-savvy managers and analysts" will be needed to take full advantage of big data.
In conversations with customers and prospects, it has become apparent that there is a significant widening of their overall performance – both in terms of increased revenue and lower operational costs. It’s amazingly disproportional and not linear.
Organizations that are outperforming their peers, through the use of analytics, are making quicker progress, capitalizing on their growing experience while monopolizing an increasing amount of analytical talent.
This creates a wider gap, making talents even more difficult to secure for those companies jumping on the analytical bandwagon – therefore delaying their progress.
These are the harsh realities of analytical life. It’s time to make a change…and soon. Those organizations that don’t will be forced into a life of using Excel spreadsheets. Talk about doing hard time.
Spreadsheets, while fine for certain tasks, aren’t the answer to keep up with the ever-growing amount of data being created and the more and more complex decisions that have to be made.
Nor are they capable of handling the pressures of customer demand. The ability to respond to customers at the right place and right time, and with the right offer based on a customer’s current mood and sentiment, is a job for those that know how to navigate decision management solutions.
It’s becoming an arms and skills race segmented among “The Haves,” “The Have Nots,” and the “Never Will.”
· “The Haves” – These commercial and government organizations have taken the time to understand the value of analytics, hired the right people, received the proper training, identified the business issues, and deployed business analytics technology to create opportunities to drive the business.
They have been doing it for a number of years and will only keep advancing.
· “The Have Nots” – These organizations are just beginning to implement analytics, or will soon. Unfortunately, they will also have to spend more money to catch up, in terms of services, training and domain knowledge. But, at least they are getting into the game.
The pool of analytics talent, however, is rather shallow at this point…either already hired by the “Haves,” or on the verge of retirement, so analytics projects will be limited or outsourced to technology vendors.
· “Never Will” – These organizations will soon be destitute and on the street struggling to find anyone with basic statistics knowledge.
By the time these organizations even think about an analytics solution, even IBM might not have the resources and services to help them. The market will be so desolate that what even looks like a mirage won’t have any water. And what few professionals are available won’t come cheap.
But, all is not lost. There is hope as many of you will learn at the IBM Information on Demand (IOD11 and BAForum) conference next week in Las Vegas (Oct. 23-27).
There are many programs already in place to help ensure that organizations will reach their full analytic potential:
· Over the past five years, IBM has initiated academic programs with leading universities around the world, including Yale, DePaul, Ottawa and others, to provide analytics technology and training resources so students can be prepared for 21st century jobs in analytics.
· IBM is continually innovating to make analytics technology easier to use, such as the aforementioned decision management. Business professionals can now build a predictive model in just three clicks.
· Even business intelligence solutions are made-to-order nowadays…for everyone (from the individual to the mid-market to the enterprise…and anywhere (with the new Cognos Mobile for the iPad). It’s true analytic freedom.
· And, IBM’s Global Business Services continues to expand its pool of talent as it will have almost 9,000 card-carrying analytics experts by the end of the year.
Become an Analytics Champion
Engage today. Don’t wait. IBM has been helping organizations deploy analytics and get the most from their data for almost half a century. We would love a chance to discuss, and then we can advise on the right training and education.
And if you need a quick start to find out how mature your organization is with analytics…take our AQ quiz that will guide you through the steps needed to continue on the analytics journey.