data science was once dubbed the “sexiest job of the 21st century”. Yet, when you dissect the working day of a data scientist, it’s hard to see why. Results from a recent IDC study found that, on average, data professionals spend 67% of their time searching for and preparing data for analytics. When we put that into the context of an average working day in the UK, that’s almost five hours which is spent on data admin alone.
The same research also found that only 12% of data workers’ time is being spent on delivering insights, despite being critical to supporting business amidst the current crisis. Again, when we put this into context, that’s just over one hour a day. This is a tiny amount of time that is being spent on, arguably, the data professional’s most important job in this current climate – creating meaningful, actionable insights from the data that is being generated within the organisation.
Sadly, if businesses continue on this trajectory during this pandemic, the monopolization of data professionals’ time will only get worse as the volume of data grows. More data means more siloed data – as teams struggle to understand what data is being generated and where it’s being stored.
More siloed data means incomplete data sets, reducing the quality and impact of the data being collected. The result: data chaos. A chaos that the data professional will find themselves responsible for and, perhaps, have to spend even more of their time sorting out.
This is a problem only amplified by the effects of COVID-19, because of which means data is coming from an increasing number of sources both within a business and external, creating more silos as businesses fight to understand what the pandemic means for them and how they should respond to best serve their customers, employees and Society at large.
Getting access to accurate and trustworthy data are more needed than ever in times like these. Are we getting control of the pandemic, are we at risk to fall short of health resources, are we reaching the plateau, can geolocation data help stop COVID-19 and how can we manage it to control the effect on our privacy? Now we all understand how important data is to help us answer those crucial question and ultimately win against the crisis.
We also envision how hard it can be to collect this data in real time and create the ecosystem of skills and trust to turn it into outcomes.
Like water, data now plays a vital role in our everyday lives – supporting societal wellbeing, economic growth and can even be transformed into green energy. But when it is out control, leaked or storied in excess, data can lead to massive problems and cause mammoth damages.
In fact, a partial or biased view of data can result in a negative impact on the bottom line or, in some cases, lead to discrimination. Only with a full and mastered view can data professionals deliver accurate, actionable insights that will provide the business with clarity to make the right decisions and the confidence to drive them forward in an uncertain, risky climate.
For this very reason, data is the lifeblood of digital transformation and a key asset in a crisis. And so, when it comes to evolving digitally and helping support organisations through the challenges that we are facing with this new crisis, businesses of all sizes should not only get access to all of their data but also to weave them together and ensure they are trustworthy.
Yet, what many businesses don’t know is that this is exactly the position they are currently in – analyzing incomplete data sets to inform strategic business decisions.
The severe data talent shortage that the world is currently facing is only further monopolizing the data professional’s time. The Royal Society found that demand for data workers in the UK has tripled over the last five years as an increasing number of businesses want to take full advantage of the benefits of data.