Enterprises lack skills to meet Big Data demands

Lack of in-house Big Data expertise is leading to the growth of consultancies focused on data analytics

As the dust settles around Big Data and hype begins to give way to reality, organizations find themselves severely ill-equipped to handle the massive volumes of information scattered across the enterprise. The growing demand from business managers for insights from stockpiles of existing data currently presents a significant challenge for IT organisations in terms of sourcing the necessary skills to successfully adopt the technology, apply analytical technique and effectively embed the resulting insight into the business everyday decision making.

A study by technology market research firm Pringle & Company, has revealed that enterprises world over are facing a gap in Big Data expertise which in turn is leading to the growth of external service firms and consultancies focused on data analytics.

According to Tom Pringle, founder and principal analyst at Pringle & Company, the need extends beyond the technology knowhow, to statistical and analytical capabilities, industry experience and operational insight. For many businesses there is an obvious skills gap and consultants are stepping forward to fill it. As well as offering a means to accelerate adoption, it can also be argued that borrowing these capabilities is more cost-effective in the short term that attempting to build or buy them.

Research by the firm suggests that the market for services provided by business and technology consultancies to develop and implement the systems required to generate data insights is growing at a rate in excess of 15%. The global market for these services will nearly double over the next four years, growing from an estimated $54.5 billion in 2012 to $96.9 billion in 2016.

In a challenging economic environment growth rates above 15% are exceptional. Such high levels reflect not only growing understanding of the real-world business value of data-driven insights, but also the substantial range and depth of skills required to successfully adopt the necessary systems to discover and act on them. As the volume and variety of data continues to grow ever bigger, the necessary investment to successfully understand and exploit its value also rises, said Pringle.

The report underscores the indispensable role of services - from management consultancies to technical, deployment and maintenance providers - in developing an organisations capability to harness the value of data. Its conclusions support the general rule that for every dollar spent on software for business intelligence more than two are spent on external service providers.

When working with consultants businesses should look to incorporate knowledge transfer to make the solution sustainable in the longer term, concluded Pringle.

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