Nearly 60 percent of enterprise professionals responding to a recent survey on LinkedIn said their organizations plan to increase investment in data analytics this year.
And their top spending priority is expected to be analytics talent – a scarce resource now and, according to most forecasts, for the next several years.
The survey was conducted by data analytics software and services vendor Lavastorm Analytics, which posted questions on three LinkedIn groups for data science professionals.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they expect their enterprises to increase analytics investments in 2013.
Asked to identify specific areas in which their enterprises would “investing more resources,” 53 percent chose “people,” or staffing, followed closely by analytics tools at 51 percent.
Another 43 percent cited analytics training as a potential target for increased spending, with 30 percent listing data sources.
Only 5 percent of respondents said their enterprises are cutting back on analytics investing.
The 603 respondents to the Lavastorm survey work in industries ranging from finance, telecom and healthcare – all heavily investing in big data – and include data analytics professionals, business analysts, technologists, managers and C-level executives.
The heavier emphasis on staffing relative to training among Lavastorm survey respondents is mirrored by a NewVantage survey from last fall in which 91 percent of respondents said they are hiring data scientists from outside their enterprises, while 69 percent said they would train analysts already on the payroll.
Other recent surveys have documented a growing demand for analytics professionals. In career site Dice’s January hiring report, “data analysts/analytics” was listed as No. 4 overall by more than 1,000 surveyed hiring managers and recruiters asked to identify the talent or skill-set they consider the most important in 2013.
A month earlier, 54 percent of Dice survey respondents said demand for data analytics professionals would increase in 2013.
John Reed, senior executive director of IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology, says this emphasis on finding analytics talent reflects his firm’s experience working with enterprise clients.
“We see very high demand for those skillsets,” Reed says. “But the talent pool is low.”
Reed says this ongoing shortage means enterprises “are faced with one of two choices – Choice one is ‘I don’t have them, I can’t find them, so I have to go recruit them from somewhere else,’ which usually means you have to pay a bounty to recruit those people out of their organization, if you can get them to talk to you.”
The second choice involves being proactive.
“What more companies are doing is working a program to in essence grow their own,” Reed says. “They’re looking at internal staff and saying, ‘Do we have people who have really good analytics skills, who are very sound in their technology? If so, they’re worth investing in.’ So they’ll surround them with mentors, they’ll invest in training, they might hire an outside consultant to come in and work with people to develop skills.”
The Lavastorm survey contained some other interesting data points:
* 51 percent cited predictive analytics as their top area of interest, easily topping the generic “big data” (35 percent) and dashboards (32 percent).
* 25 percent of respondents said their biggest struggle with analytics is “gleaning insights from their data,” with “access to the data” named by 22 percent.
* The most popular “self-service” analytical tool is Microsoft’s Excel, which 76 percent of respondents said they use. R was listed second at 35 percent and SAS third at 34 percent.