First, digitization of workflows will automate repetitive and low-value tasks, enabling workers to take on more strategic roles. In these data-centric organizations, the ranks of knowledge workers will expand across the organization. Dispatchers on loading docks, manufacturing-production crews, salespeople in front of clients and office workers at their desks will become both data users and data engineers creatively applying data to improve their specific domains. Robust change management programs will be required to drive these changes in employees.
Data accessibility will enable more fluid governance, but it comes with greater responsibility. This will drive a gradual migration from rigid command and control structures to local decisions — closer to the work and closer to the customer.
“Data will be the bread and butter of our organization moving forward,” said Mondelez’s VP Data Management, RD and CIO MEU, Rossana Rizzotto. “The ability to interpret data will be essential to careers, whether that’s on the business side or as a data scientist.”
The horizons will extend to customers as well. Through data flows, customers will be able to give input on product designs and production orders. Internal stakeholders will also be able to better understand customer preferences through real-time feeds on purchasing preferences, pricing and post-sale customer service, creating a personalized experience.
Finally, effective digitization can have a positive effect on employee morale and retention. According to the EY Work Reimagined Survey 2021, 64% of global employees want to see better tech in the office, and 48% want to see increased investment in their home technology. As noted above, over half (54%) will leave their jobs if they do not have the flexibility that technology can give them.
Building the digital talent that enables data centricity
The defining constraint on the next generation of data and analytics is the skills shortage — both within the technology function and increasingly across the entire workforce. The challenge is compounded by current economic conditions driving the great resignation. Never has it been so important to keep employees — particularly the digitally skilled — engaged and fulfilled.
Forward-looking companies understand the dilemma. The EY study found that 70% of APAC companies are focusing on alleviating technology skill gaps of existing employees. Companies are rethinking their employees’ career paths and roles to fit a more digitized world, blending both business and technology skills.
Technology organizations have long struggled to fill their requirements for digitally capable workers. But as data centricity increases skill requirements across the entire business, chief operating officers, chief marketing officers and other non-IT executives face a special challenge — sourcing the digitally proficient who also understand the business. Examples include a warehouse operator who can structure inventory regressions or an aircraft engineer who can design using a digital twin.
Bridging the talent gap
Data-centric organizations will recognize that there is no single answer to their talent shortages. In the EY study, APAC executives pointed out the challenges of high compensation requirements (28%), successful upskilling (27%) and the struggle to retain existing skilled talent (26%) as leading barriers to acquiring digital skills (Figure 3). No one answer will suffice.