What can you do to bridge the data science skills gap?

0508 Jaywing Nick EvansSucceeding in today’s rapidly changing digital world – where the boundaries between physical and digital have disappeared – requires a new set of rules. From adopting new technology that combines online and offline data, to acquiring a new skillset to make sense of the rising tide of data.
Machine learning, data science, and predictive analytics are the new and increasingly crucial components that can complement traditional marketing. Brands that are more technically-savvy and use the latest analytical and data science techniques stand out through their ability to deliver more individually personalised customer experiences; and in real time, which is what consumers crave.
Despite the benefits, Jaywing’s recent research highlighted a data science skills shortage as the main barrier to adopting data-driven marketing techniques. As a result of this skills gap, over nearly two-thirds of marketers (65%) said they are implementing only basic or segment-based personalisation and only 18% are adopting advanced attribution techniques. Without data skills, brands are at risk of lagging behind.
Brands using data science can deliver enhanced customer experiences, at an individual level of personalisation, as well as improved marketing efficiencies, by more accurately attributing media investments to sales. That’s why, in the last few years, employers from every sector have been increasing their efforts to plug the data science skills gap but have met challenges with a notable shortage in skilled data experts in the marketplace.
Creating a holistic data infrastructure requires people with different skills – including technical, insight and analytical, predictive modelling, consulting, and reporting and visualisation experts – meaning it can be expensive and difficult to gain a ‘fast start’ when building these resources.
To help combat this issue, savvy brands have taken to partnering with data experts and insourcing specialists. This presents businesses with the opportunity to accelerate their data opportunities by bringing in the right mix of skills at the right time to drive programmes of change, whether that’s with a business starting their data journey or one looking to fast-track new initiatives.
Moreover, bringing specialist external data science talent into a business often sees accelerated learning for existing staff, reduced operating costs and rapid assimilation of commercial goals and objectives.
As data continues to proliferate, the challenges of managing it and extracting value will also increase. New technologies are helping marketers to keep pace, and AI in particular offers some exciting opportunities to let machines – rather than people – do some of the ‘clever thinking’.
However, even with these emerging technologies, marketers will still need to be able to plug them in to legacy systems and use analytically derived insight to stay ahead. By insourcing specialist resource, brands can effectively plug the data skills gap now.

Nick Evans is marketing practice director at Jaywing

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