EMC announced its findings from a global survey of the data science community, which showed that only one-third of the companies polled are making effective use of data.
The EMC survey covers the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, India and China, and it reveals and quantifies a rampant scarcity across the globe for the prerequisite skills necessary for a company to capitalize on the opportunities found at the intersection of “big data” and data analytics, EMC officials said. Indeed, only one-third of companies are able to effectively use new data to assist their business decision making, gain competitive advantage, drive productivity growth, yield innovation and reveal customer insights, EMC said in a press release on the survey.
The survey revealed that the explosion of digital data created by mobile sensors, social media, surveillance, medical imaging, smart grids and the like-combined with new tools for analyzing it all-has created a corresponding explosion in the opportunity to generate value and insights from the data. As such, the business demand for data scientists has quickly outpaced the supply of talent, EMC said.
The “EMC Data Science Study” respondents included nearly 500 members of the global data science community, such as data scientists and professionals from related disciplines (data analysts, data specialists, business intelligence analysts, information analysts and data engineers), all of whom have IT decision-making authority.
“The big data era has arrived in full force, bringing with it an unprecedented opportunity to transform business and the way we work and live,” said Jeremy Burton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at EMC, in a statement. “Through the convergence of massive scale-out storage, next-generation analytics and visualization capability, the technology is in place. What’s needed to fully realize its value is a vibrant, interconnected, highly-skilled and empowered data science community to reveal relevant trend patterns and uncover new insights hidden within.”
The study found that 65 percent of data science professionals believe demand for data science talent will outpace the supply over the next five years.
“Neither tools nor people alone can solve the challenges of big data,” said Michael Driscoll, co-founder and CTO at MetaMarkets, in a statement. “They must work together, and that is the promise of data science. Despite advances in software tools, the number of people with experience using these tools, and with real-life exposure to large-scale data sets, is small. Data science is a young field, and its growth will be fueled as much by technology as through the mentorship of new acolytes by leading practitioners.”
“We live in a data-driven world. Increasingly, the efficient operation of organizations across sectors relies on the effective use of vast amounts of data,” said Andreas Weigend, head of the Social Data Lab at Stanford University and former chief scientist at Amazon.com, in a statement. “Making sense of big data is a combination of organizations having the tools, skills and, more importantly, the mindset to see data as the new -oil’ fueling a company. Unfortunately, the technology has evolved faster than the workforce skills to make sense of it, and organizations across sectors must adapt to this new reality or perish.”
The survey also showed that the most commonly cited barriers to data science adoption include lack of skills or training (32%), budget/resources (32%), the wrong organizational structure (14%) and lack of tools/technology (10%).
The EMC study also found that data scientists are more likely than business intelligence professionals to be involved across the data lifecycle-from acquiring new data sets to making business decisions based on the data. This includes filtering and organizing data as well as representing data visually and telling a story with data.