Invest In IT skills And Data Literacy To Develop The Competitive Advantage
IT skills and Data Literacy are the basis of the digital transformation of the business. However, they pose significant challenges to companies: here’s what and how to deal with them.
The vast majority of companies, precisely 70%, have a digital transformation strategy or are finalizing it. If we could abstract from the strategic concept and talk generically about digitization, we would arrive at 100%.
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Skills Gap: Lack of necessary IT skills
Apart from the statistics, it is clear that the process towards the data-driven company has now begun and that companies are building their competitive advantage on it. The need for increasingly specialized IT skills depends precisely on this, namely on the fact that digital transformation has revolutionized the role of IT, making it the engine of innovation and business growth.
Digital transformation poses significant challenges for businesses. First of all, the IT Skills Gap phenomenon becomes more and more noticeable over time and is one of the elements at the basis of the success of Managed Service Providers. In a world where companies base their competitive advantage on IT infrastructure and software, professional figures dedicated to software development (backend and frontend), IT infrastructure, and data governance immediately become rare and highly coveted. These, for their part, find it more satisfying and stimulating to work for companies whose core business is technology(like MSPs) rather than in support of business-side innovation or daily business operations. Consequently, the global market is stingy with highly specialized IT figures, and the skills gap becomes one of the elements capable of influencing the success of the digital transformation. According to Skillsoft, 76% of IT decision-makers complain of skills shortages in their department, up 145% since 2016.
Finally, as regards the most valuable skills in 2023, it may be interesting to mention those involved in training: according to Coursera, the most requested IT skills in the era of digital transformation concern cybersecurity, software development, the architecture of systems and networking, not to mention the entire universe of data science.
Data literacy and data literacy
Digital transformation means progressively creating a data-driven company. Knowing how to exploit data enables better decisions, reliable forecasts, and, in some cases, even innovative business models. However, even here, companies need help to create lasting transformation. The NVP Data & AI Leadership Executive Survey 2022 states it clearly: even if 91% of companies invest in data & AI, only 26.5% have created a real data-driven organization. Logically, the causes are many: there need to be more skills, the ability to change management, and a leadership capable of strongly impacting the corporate culture. Failing to establish a given culture (or partially succeeding) greatly hinders return on investment (ROI).
The theme of the IT skills gap is certainly alive, but companies are also suffering from another phenomenon: shortages in terms of literacy, particularly data literacy. Let’s explain ourselves better: in 2023, IT managers will be aware of the existence of tools that, with more or less high levels of complexity, acquire and provide data to those who will have to interpret, enhance and communicate them. However, real data literacy is lacking in companies, which does not concern the figures in charge of this (Data Analyst and Data Scientist) but all the rest of the corporate population. The result is paradoxical: companies have the data and tools but cannot exploit their data.
Literacy beyond data
The topic of literacy goes far beyond the universe of data (data literacy) and concerns all the technologies and tools to support businesses, which are growing daily in the era of digitization and smart working. On the one hand, the software industry is increasingly aiming towards “consumerization,” i.e., it seeks to develop tools (software) with the same user experience as tools for personal and daily use (such as WhatsApp, Facebook…), on the other companies invest (or should) in training, trying to adopt engaging and effective methodologies and platforms.
Security literacy, or security awareness, represents an almost obligatory line of investment to transform the weak link in the chain (the human one) into the first line of defense against attacks and vulnerabilities. The literacy that all businesses should build is digital security literacy. Digitization is multiplying the risks, sometimes from the outside, sometimes from human error, and often from both factors.
The skills gap, literacy, and the Role of the IT Partner
In an increasingly digitized world, the IT partner is not limited to designing and implementing technological solutions but also provides the company with the IT skills it needs. As anticipated, in an era of the rampant skills gap, and in which HR divisions have difficulty discovering external talent or proposing effective reskilling paths, delegating skills to specialized partners does not just fill a gap but provides the certainty of constant updating and rationalization of costs.