Big data IT contractors could benefit from skills gap

Saturday 23 May 2015

IT contractors and sole traders with expertise in big data could see their services becoming more sought after as organisations struggle to find the right talent for their roles.

According to the Harvey Nash 2015 CIO Survey, which was conducted in association with KPMG, big data analytics has become the top most needed skill. Demand for this is almost six times higher than the second most needed skill, which is change management.

The survey found that although efforts have been made to plug the skills gap, skills concerns are running one third higher this year than they were during 2013.

It seems that digital innovation is the top priority among technology leaders as firms race to get ahead, although a lot of companies are struggling to manage this and do not have an enterprise-wide digital strategy. That's on top of their lack of people who have the right skills to deal with the challenges.

One of the main big changes that businesses have been facing is digital disruption, which is where established business models get disrupted because of the change in digital technologies. Sixty-six per cent of chief information officers (CIOs) cited this issue. As a result, they have been driven to construct new business models and make sure new products are being brought to market faster than before.

This isn't a problem that is limited to the UK however, as a number of large companies around the world said that they are at a disadvantage where digital is concerned. Only 17 per cent said they believe they will do 'much better' than competitors when it comes to managing digital disruption. For small organisations, this figure rises to 35 per cent. In the coming years, a mere one in ten CIOs think that their organisation will not be affected by digital disruption.

Commenting on the results of the survey, chief executive officer of Harvey Nash Group Albert Ellis said: “What’s most striking about the results is the speed of change. In the seventeen years we have conducted the survey we have never seen a new role grow so quickly as we have the Chief Digital Officer. We have never seen demand for a skill expand so quickly as we have for big data analytics. As technology increasingly becomes focused on the customer, the IT, marketing and operations teams are increasingly working together in new ways.”

He noted that the new ways in which teams work together can create friction, uncertainty and lead to challenges in finding skills.

By Victoria McDonnell

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