Blog post

Talent Shortages Erode Analytics ROI at Midsized Enterprises

By Vivek Swaminathan | December 04, 2019 | 0 Comments

contributed by Nikhil Sood, Gartner for Midsize Enterprises

According to the Gartner 2019 CIO survey, 48% of midsized enterprise (MSE) CIOs intend to spend the largest amount of new or additional funding on business intelligence or data analytics solutions. This translates into increased demand for data analytics skills within IT teams. However, MSEs CIO will find it hard to compete and hire for these skills, potentially eroding the value of any analytics investments down the line.

Interestingly, Gartner research found more growth in job postings requiring data science or analytics skills outside IT than within IT (see figure 1).  In March 2019, almost two out of every three job postings requiring data science or analytics skills were for positions outside the IT function. MSEs CIOs end up competing for the same scarce talent both within their organization and outside it.

Figure 1: Skills Where Demand Outside IT Exceeds Demand Inside IT

To combat this, MSE CIOs can deploy three strategies to avoid losing value across analytics investments:

  • Source Analytics Talent from Non-Obvious Pools: MSE CIOs should broaden search parameters to identify other candidates where professionals apply analytical skills. Guardian Life successfully identified non-obvious career paths that utilize the same skills needed to execute their projects and highlighted potential career transitions to applicants. When looking to recruit top talent, Guardian Life advertised their employees’ unconventional career paths through videos and successfully demonstrated how skills translate across industries.
  • Foster Internal “Citizen” Talent: MSE CIOs should groom and fully leverage citizen data scientists and developers. They should adopt lighter governance models and processes and allow citizen developers and data scientists to work more easily and effectively with IT. SFO’s IT team simplified their technical and governance environments in ways that made it possible for employees across the firm to tackle a broader range of digital projects, including data analytics projects, without needing highly specialized skills.
  • Build Enterprise Analytical Acumen: MSE CIOs should augment the analytics talent shortage within IT by building analytical acumen within the business teams. Continuous trainings should emphasize analysis over tools. Tiffany & Co. provided data analytics coaching across several channels, including classroom training, video training, and ongoing analyst support. The company used onsite sessions to train employees on how to conduct analysis, instead of focusing on using tools.

As investments in data and analytics solutions increase, MSE CIOs must evaluate how to maximize ongoing value from these investments, especially regarding talent. By applying these three best practice techniques for hiring and developing talent, midsize enterprises are more likely to realize value from current and future analytics investments.

Whether you are curious to understand analytics talent at midsize enterprises or looking to become more mature, there is no reason to build that knowledge from scratch. Instead, it makes sense to leverage the lessons and best practices of other midsize companies that have already figured out the best way forward.  Access additional midsize enterprise guidance on or tap into our community of Midsize Enterprise Executive Partners to develop talent in your organization.  Can’t access links?  Talk to us about becoming a client.

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