More skills needed to extract data value

Nearly two thirds (65%) of IT leaders globally think they need to invest in data capability skills within their teams to extract value from data.

Over three quarters (78%) of IT leaders in North American businesses recognise a need to increase employee data competency, compared with 63% of Latin American businesses, 55% of European businesses and 48% of Asian businesses.

Dublin, 27 April, 2022 – New research from Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR) the largest global provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data centers, colocation and interconnection solutions, today reveals that 65% of IT leaders from some of the world’s biggest businesses say they need to increase the data competency of their teams to remain competitive and extract value from data [1]. This increases to 78% when focusing on North American businesses, compared to 63% for Latin American businesses, 55% for European businesses and 48% for Asian businesses.

The importance of upskilling teams as a business-critical move out-performed AI investment (59%) and was the second most popular response amongst those surveyed when asked what the most important factor was for their companies in the next two years to enable more data-driven insights. Additionally, over one in five (21%) IT leaders globally highlighted that the lack of internal talent to analyse data, and the lack of talent to build technical capacity (21%), are among the greatest obstacles their organisations are facing when drawing insights from their data.

A wider issue

Crucially, IT leaders’ teams need to have the skills to unlock value from data and make data-driven strategies a priority if they want to stay competitive in an increasingly data centric world. Digital Realty’s research revealed that three quarters (75%) of >$1B companies do now have a formal data strategy in the planning, adoption or execution stage. This compares to 63% of global companies, suggesting that larger companies are operating slightly ahead of the curve from a data perspective, something which is likely to give them an advantage over smaller competitors as the amount of data grows and Data Gravity becomes a bigger challenge.

“As the volume of data grows exponentially across the world, the Data Gravity effect is inevitably going to intensify, particularly if employees do not have the skills to effectively process the data,” explains Séamus Dunne, Managing Director, at Interxion, a Digital Realty company. “This phenomenon sees large volumes of data continually attracting more data, making it impossible to move, manipulate or extract value from it. This creates barriers for businesses and rather than data being an enabler, it can have the opposite effect.

“Digital Realty understands the growing challenges business leaders face, which is why we’ve built PlatformDIGITAL®, our first of its kind global data center platform, to meet the ever-changing data, control and networking demands of global enterprises and help them realise new, data-first strategies.”

Looking ahead

The research shows that 17% of IT leaders expect data-driven insights to help them attract more talent in the future, suggesting that people will be drawn to organisations using data efficiently. This is likely to lead to a cumulative effect, with the more data savvy enterprises attracting more employees with data skills and building their competitive advantage.

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