The Australian channel stands to capitalise on increased end-user appetite for big data and analytics solutions, as the industry remains blocked by an ever-increasing skills barrier.
Despite strong enthusiasm from organisations across the country, a lack of talent and an ongoing skills shortage points data hungry organisations to the direction of specialist partners.
“There’s never been a better time to be an analytics professional - great datasets to work on, organisational support and a huge demand for skilled people,” Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) CEO, Jodie Sangster, said.
“In fact, burgeoning demand is our biggest challenge.”
Representing the perfect concoction for the local channel, the blend of increased demand with a substantial lack of talent creates a pathway for partners to maximise the potential of providing analytics focused solutions and services to an industry seemingly desperate to invest.
According to IAPA Skills and Salary findings, the biggest challenge for businesses centres on building capability with developing new skills (50 per cent) and time for innovation (46 per cent) nominated as key blockers.
With the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) expected to be felt in two to three years, entry level analytics salaries rose 11 per cent - putting the median salary of graduates, and those in the bottom salary decile, equal to the Australian median salary.
From a channel perspective, 67 per cent of managers believe applicants are under skilled, rising to 93 per cent of those managers who say analytics hiring is harder than a year ago.
“Analytics is now a significant part of Australian organisations, and it needs to be if businesses are to survive the coming wave of disruptive forces,” Sangster added.
Business acumen essential
According to IAPA research, irrespective of whether recruitment is difficult because of picky management or strong demand, managers will need to adjust expectations and attainments to meet demand.
Or, engage with third party providers to realise the potential of a developing market.
For AGL Energy Head of Data Excellence, Buzby Kuramoto, finding quality talent remains the greatest challenge in 2017.
“For example, data scientist roles are usually well subscribed but many candidates don’t quite have the combination of technical skill and business competence,” Kuramoto said.
At Vocus Communications, the company’s strategy has quickly switched from being driven by the business, to the analytics teams leading the conversations across the organisation.
“We’re now getting questions such as, ‘it would be good if we could see X’, from marketing, sales and executives which is a terrific development,” Vocus Communications General Manager of Analytics, Hamish Mogan, added.
“It means that the work being performed by analytical team members is solving direct business problems.”
In terms of skills, the 2016 Skills and Salary Survey indicated that the most used business tool was Excel followed by Tableau and R studio, with SQL and R the most popular programming languages,
In addition, open source programming languages are increasing in usage, with R increasing 14 per cent and Python increasing 40 per cent from 2015, with 60 per cent of businesses commonly applying business intelligence, data manipulation and exploratory data analysis.