Analytics is becoming an increasingly important component of innovation, new-product development and corporate decision making. The future of high performance, it seems, is inextricably tied to sophisticated analytics use.
A barrier to making faster progress, however, is a mismatch in the supply and demand of analytics talent, according to a just-released, in-depth report from the Accenture Institute for High Performance. Among many points made in the 48-page report, “Crunch time: How to overcome the looming global analytics talent mismatch,” the report’s authors emphasize that finding and accessing analytics talent will require innovative sourcing strategies to bridge the gap between supply and demand.
Source for graphic above: Figure 4 from “Crunch time: How to overcome the looming global analytics talent mismatch,” Accenture 2013.
How can organizations source, structure and cultivate analytics talent?
• Some businesses are turning to specialty practices to supply talent as needed.
Their argument goes like this: It takes too long to cultivate analytics talent internally. Instead, partner with external organizations that have developed analytics talent as part of their core business. Career paths tend to be restrained when analytics is not core to an organization’s products or services. Analytics service providers, however, offer greater opportunities for growth and development.
• Some organizations leverage analytics talent across functional and technical domains.
This approach may manifest itself in a Center of Excellence model, or elevating analytics to an enterprise-wide focus. A center for analytics can obtain greater leverage of experience to solve industry problems.
• Labor market intermediaries are emerging to bridge gaps between demand and supply.
Some intermediaries seek to certify talent (officially or unofficially) by providing formal credentials. For example, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is expected to be the first professional society to offer certifications for analytics talent.
Given Accenture’s projections for long-term shortages of analytics talent, it is unlikely any organization will solve the problem on its own. To close the gap, organizations will need to expand the talent pool, help equip recent graduates with skills, improve the quality of university education, and influence national immigration policy to attract more qualified graduates into analytics jobs.
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