EMC Tackles Big Data, Cloud Skills Gap Among IT Business Leaders

Many organizations have trouble finding IT workers with the skills needed to implement big data analytics and cloud computing strategies. But that skills gap isn't limited to engineers and developers. There's also a shortage of executives and business leaders with the skills to manage big data and cloud teams. EMC is seeking to change that with a new series of courses.

Tue, April 23, 2013

CIO — Driving business transformation built on big data and cloud is easier said than done. Part of the problem is that the skills gap doesn't exist at just the engineer and developer level—executives and managers are often short on the skills they need, too.

"There aren't just skill gaps among technologists," Tom Clancy, vice president of EMC Education Services at EMC, says. "They also exist at the business leader and manager level."

"Implementing transformational IT strategies, such as cloud and [IT as a Service] ITaaS, or data science and big data analytics, isn't just about the technology," he adds. "At EMC, we say 'transformation transcends IT,' because transformation requires new business models, new roles, new skills, new organizational alignment and, most importantly, a new mindset."

Business transformation often requires executives or business leaders with vision who are prepared to force the business to break down organizational and information silos and turn corporate culture on its ear. That vision requires understanding of the concepts, skills and strategies associated with big data and cloud technologies, and many executives lack the fundamental understanding they need, according to Clancy.

"IT transformation from multiple dimensions is transcending upon businesses as they explore new ideas and strategies to embrace IT as a Service initiatives, data science and big data analytics," says Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst with IT research firm ESG.

"The challenge is amplified by the fact that implementation initiatives expand well beyond technology as they encompass new business models and create a massive organizational impact that creates a new era of skillsets, different roles and realignment of IT staff," Duplessie says.

Most IT Teams Feel Management Lacks Big Data, Cloud Skills

Clancy says that EMC conducted a global survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals in more than 600 organizations in February 2013. The survey found that only 16 percent of IT professionals believe their management has strong skills in data science and big data analytics, and only 18 percent believe their management has strong skills in cloud and ITaaS.

"Business leaders have to plan, prioritize and educate their teams with a standardized set of definitions, skills, knowledge and strategies to embrace cloud computing and IT as a Service in order to garner agility and efficiency within their organizations," Duplessie says.

"The same formula holds true for data science and big data analytics initiatives," Duplessie says. "While we all agree that embracing cloud computing and big data analytics is required for businesses to continue to be competitive in today's market, the questions still outweigh the answers as to how to get there successfully. And as a result, businesses are littered with challenges that they need to quickly address and overcome to maintain their leadership positions and continue to improve stockholder value."

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