Australia is facing a skill gap within the analytics sector according to some of the country’s leading practitioners. But emerging technology can help to offset the gap by also improving traditional reporting.

“There is a skill gap. A lot of data scientists are not data scientists,” said SAP VP and chief analytics evangelist, Shailendra Kumar following an analytics roundtable in Sydney.

“That came out with all the key leaders [at the roundtable].”

Kumar joined analytics leaders from several industries at an SAP sponsored Which-50 discussion on the challenges and early wins of an increasingly desired profession.

Analytics have come a long way in recent years and in some regards people need to catch up with the technology, according to Simon Belousoff, head of personalisation (customer transformation) at BUPA.

“[You need] an enterprise understanding of the true value and benefits of data but also that you should be scaling your teams to make the most of the data opportunity,” he said.

Most organisations are not doing that, according to research from Gartner, which late last year found more than 87 per cent of organisations are classified as having low business intelligence and analytics maturity.

Courtney McGabe, Westpac’s head of analytics, noted there are some common challenges around analytics, regardless of an organisation’s size. He said the blending of traditional business intelligence and new analytics tools must be mastered before moving to more advanced use cases.

“In particular the merging of worlds between BI [and] analytics, and how to actually take those next steps into machine learning and AI.”

Machine learning is expected to drive even more change in advanced analytics but the technology will be valuable for traditional BI, according to SAP’s Kumar.

“The BI environment or the reporting or the descriptive analytics environment is going to get a machine learning kind of concept embedded into it so you can get some more insights as you get the reports,” Kumar said.

“So your reports are not just dumb reports, they’re also giving you insights and [revealing] why is that happening – the why factor.”

About this author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which SAP is a corporate member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.


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