We’ll need analytics skills to survive, UK chiefs predict

data8Data analytics skills are no longer seen as a “nice to have”, most business chiefs now recognise they will be essential for business survival in the age of automation and artificial intelligence, but many feel they still have some way to go.

That is according to The Data Decade survey, carried out by MHR Analytics among 500 senior technology and finance managers in UK organisations.

More than half (55%) reckon data analytics will play a crucial role in the next ten years, followed by automation (53%) and AI (42%).

A fifth (21%) of UK companies plan to implement AI, yet they do not have a data strategy to support it, while skills gaps are also delaying adoption, with 40% reporting this as a barrier.

Data science skills will increase in importance, with 43% of senior professionals saying they will need to learn data science or analytics skills to progress their role in the next five years.

The same proportion (43%) say their role will become more strategic as traditional tasks become automated, with 91% believing their department will become more efficient due to automation.

MHR Analytics product strategy manager Laura Timms said: “The new decade promises unprecedented digital acceleration, [but] without the crucial component of a good data foundation, it is impossible to implement advanced analytics, automation or AI.

“Despite a widespread appetite for adopting these technologies, the study shows that a better understanding of data strategy basics will be vital for companies to launch the data-driven projects they know they need to compete.

“The research demonstrates the positive aspirations that senior leaders have about data-driven technology, and how it will evolve and advance their roles and keep their organisations competitive in the next decade. But delivering any AI-based system relies on getting the basics right with every aspect of your data quality, and on taking a step-by-step approach to data maturity.”

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