By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.
Of course, it's from the breakthrough report on data science, published by McKinsey Global Institute back in 2011. But it's just one sentence out of a 156-page paper, one sentence that has been used to support the marketing claims of hundreds of organizations, some of which have only minimal ties to data science.
Talk about soundbite marketing!
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Most of those citations missed the rest of the key points in the report, particularly about the potential opportunities that data science and analytics were going to present to enterprises in the coming years. Hey, we're in those years now. In fact, that 2018 doomsday for data science talent is less than 12 months away. Make sure the underground bunker where you keep your data scientists safe from poaching competitors is well stocked with sugary foods and energy drinks.
McKinsey is back with an update to that 2011 report and, like the original, this one looks at the state of analytics and future of data science in many ways beyond the talent crunch. In The Age of Analytics: Competing in a Data-Driven World McKinsey consultants explore the opportunities and challenges facing enterprises as they expand their reliance on data science, analytics, and big data.
For example, the authors highlight how enterprises have embraced data strategies but have left potential value sitting untapped. Among the reasons is a failure to adapt organizations and business processes to make the most of what data can do for them. They have the data available to them, but they don't put said data to work.
When the data sits underutilized, corporate finger pointing ensues. Business leaders blame the data science team. The data science team blames the business unit. Management concludes that data science is a fraud. In reality, everyone has to think about how data needs to flow through an organization, who gets what type of report, what types of problems data can solve, who needs to get alerts when an application highlights an issue, and maybe who backs up that person when they are out of the office.
Sorry, I've done it again, taking one small element or finding out of a 100-plus page report. Want to know what else McKinsey Global Institute has to say about the state and future of data science? Join us tomorrow, Thursday, at 1 pm Eastern time when one of the report authors, Michael Chui, joins A2 Radio to highlight some of the key steps your organization can take to drive success with data science.