How to Reduce the Talent Gap while Growing Analytics, Data Governance, and App Modernizations

CIOs, CDOs, data governance, and application development leaders own the challenge of growing analytics capabilities and improving end-user experiences that deliver business impacts. But, they must recognize that modernizing applications, developing integrations, and addressing data quality will be challenging as organizations compete for top talent.

Recent research shows that leaders need people, practice, and technology strategies beyond pursuing the most elite talent. We know that data scientists, full-stack developers, and DevOps engineers are in high demand, so anchoring the future on recruiting and retaining them can be challenging.  

A comprehensive approach to driving transformation includes building agile practices that connect data and application professionals. From there, using a mix of integration, low-code, and data catalog platforms establish the digital foundation for innovative analytics and end-user experiences.

Research Shows Why Leaders Need More than Top Talent

Here’s a summary of research on the competition for delivering analytics, improving data quality, and pursuing top talent.

In a recent Gartner survey, 78 percent of boards of directors identified analytics as one of their top three game-changing technologies to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis.

Most data and IT leaders have responded to these analytics business priorities and are leading data-driven strategies. In the recent IDG Data and Analytics Study, 86 percent of respondents have either already deployed or have data-driven projects on their roadmaps, and 61 percent report that the pandemic accelerated their strategies.

While becoming data-driven is a priority, data quality was the top pain point registered by 42 percent of respondents, followed by data governance and security at 37 percent. And not surprisingly, more than one-third of respondents lack data and analytics skills to fulfill analytics and data priorities.

It’s a problematic gap between the demand for analytics and the competition for talent, which causes pain points in programs around data governance, integration, and application modernizations. 

How Low-code Technologies Help Close Skill Gaps

My conclusion is that technology and data leaders must pick their battles on what skills to focus on and where to apply them. Since analytics and customer experiences are many organizations’ top strategic priorities, technology and data leaders should hire and assign data scientists and full-stack developers to these transformative initiatives.

But what about the foundational work needed to integrate systems, develop internal workflows, or provide access to data resources? The answer for most organizations is to identify easy-to-use, fast-to-onboard, and scalable technology solutions that can help technology and data leaders get more done and with less work performed by the most talented data scientists, developers, and engineers. 

Which technologies can be game-changers for organizations looking to accelerate digital transformation and empower a data-driven workforce? My list includes

  • Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) that enables connections to enterprise platforms and SaaS without having to develop low-level integration code
  • Low-code application development tools used by professional and citizen developers to create workflows rapidly and simplify supporting them
  • Data prep tools that extend data quality capabilities to the subject matter experts and data stewards that are most knowledgable on data sources
  • Master data hubs that become the centralized repository for core entity data like customers, products, and other reference data
  • Data catalogs for sharing access to data resources and collaborating on how data scientists and analysts can use them for their models, dashboards, analytics, and reports

What’s important about these technologies is that they are all enablers to innovation, experiences, and analytics. They are foundational to create end-user experiences that connect to multiple systems of record or analytics that join data from various sources. When you think about user experiences, workflows, and analytics, platforms that provide integration and data governance are the foundations that enable rapid and reliable development.

Furthermore, we’re not just looking to build foundations. When organizations transform, IT leaders must extend technology development and support activities to people outside the IT department or data science teams. Data prep, data catalog, and low-code application development are capabilities technology and data leaders should look to extend beyond IT and data science groups and into the full workforce.

Keys to Successful Talent Transformations

The key to enabling a transformation of talent, maturing multidisciplinary agile practices, and establishing foundational platforms is for the CIO, technology, and data leaders to articulate the vision, strategy, and responsibilities. Leaders must repeat the communications to everyone working on analytics, data, and application development initiatives, including business sponsors, stakeholders, and subject matter experts.

Technologists must buy into the platform strategy to know when to build proprietary solutions because of the strategic business impacts and when leveraging iPaaS and other platforms is the standard. They should develop a center of excellence in performing integrations while consulting with professional and citizen developers building applications on low-code platforms.

Everyone working on data science, analytics, dataops, and data governance must work on agile teams that include domain subject matter experts. One of their goals should be to enable data stewards and data owners to improve data quality and governance by utilizing data catalogs, data prep, and a master data hub

Most importantly, technology and data leaders must market, explain, and deliver citizen development, data science, and data governance ways of working to their business peers. More tech-savvy people who join the marketing, operations, finance, human resources, and other departments are interested in hands-on technology and data responsibilities. Leading organizations tap into this talent pool, expanding the breadth and depth of tech and data initiatives these organizations tackle. It also helps free up the top talent to apply their skills and solutions to the most strategic business opportunities.

That’s a winning talent strategy enabled by foundational agile practices, iPaaS, data governance, and low-code application development platforms.

This post is brought to you by Boomi.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Boomi.

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.