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AND Digital reveals a gap in data skills is stunting growth in London businesses

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Digital transformation company AND Digital, has today launched the London findings of its Fuelling Growth in an Age of Data report – revealing access to the right data skills, and an unsophisticated approach to using data is holding back London businesses’ ability to grow using data.

While the Government’s latest plans to help businesses across the country ‘level-up’ identifies London as a shining example of a city driving tech innovation, almost a third (30%) of decision-makers in London identified that a lack of knowledge and understanding among the C-Suite is holding their business back from making more use of data to fuel growth.

Almost three quarters (70%) of respondents admit that access to the right experts is stunting their ability to truly capitalise on data for growth. Nearly a quarter (22%) highlight that a lack of in-house data skills, and time to implement the right technology (24%), is also holding businesses’ data aspirations back.  

Signalling the importance of plugging this data skills gap, the report also found that 82% of the city’s decision-makers believe putting data at the heart of business strategy and plans have become even more important in the last 18 months, with 96% saying that a more sophisticated approach to using data would generate more growth.

Despite this, a quarter (24%) said the costs required to train and equip employees with skills in areas such as data analytics, data platforms, data engineering and data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning, is a concern.

Stephen Paterson, Chief for Consulting at AND Digital, commented:

“In times of great uncertainty, it’s actually the ability to quickly codify business opportunities and processes into software and data that has supported many businesses in making the pivotal decisions that will shape their fortunes for many years to come. 

“However, as well as the importance of data, the report also reminds us of the important role that people continue to play in an increasingly data-driven economy – after all, technology alone can only take us so far. 

“In an age where growth will be fuelled by the effective understanding, use and application of data, it’s vital that businesses do everything they can now to nurture and invest in an in-house talent strategy, placing data at the heart of business operations and opportunities. Those that make the necessary investments in talent now will gain huge competitive advantages in the near future. It’s with this challenge in mind that AND Digital has set itself the mission of directly improving the digital skills and knowledge of 200,000 people globally by 2025.”

Other barriers to using data

As well as lacking the necessary skills to leverage data-driven opportunities and growth, over a third (36%) said that data security was their biggest barrier, and 32% highlighted that the cost of data collection, management and storage were a concern. Unsurprisingly confusion around data compliance and regulation were seen as barriers for over a third (36%) of decision makers also.72% of respondents also admitted they lack the right technology to be considered data-centric, with almost 14% saying legacy infrastructure is holding them back.

Full access to the UK-wide data can be found in the AND Digital report ‘Fuelling growth in an Age of Data’ – available here.

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