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Report explores changing attitudes among business leaders to data-driven growth

By Ryan Morris-Reade, Wed 15 Dec 2021

AND Digital has revealed data skills are a big concern for UK businesses looking for growth via data.

Technology company AND Digital has released its Fuelling Growth in an Age of Data report, which explores the changing attitudes among business leaders to data-driven growth.

The report was conducted with 551 business decision-makers from across the UK and found almost three quarters (73%) have experienced anxiety over challenges relating to data. Nearly a quarter (22%) regularly worried about their company's ability to collect, process, and analyse data effectively to support business operations, decision-making, and growth.

The company says accessing the right talent to exploit opportunities from data was another central theme highlighted in the report, with 68% of respondents acknowledging the need for greater data skills to help their businesses grow, with nearly a quarter (24%) stating a lack of in-house skills holding their data aspirations back. 

Over a quarter (28%) say they're concerned about the costs required to train and equip their people with skills in areas such as data analytics, data platforms, data engineering and data science AI and machine learning. 

"In times of great uncertainty, it's 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," says AND Digital chief of consulting, Stephen Paterson.

"This fact is highlighted in our latest report, with the large majority (72%) of UK business decision-makers telling us that putting data at the heart of their business strategy and plans has become even more important in the last 18 months.

"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."

He says in an age where growth will be fuelled by effective understanding 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 the 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 by 2025."

Other barriers to using data

As well as lacking the necessary skills to leverage data-driven opportunities and growth, 37% of respondents say data security was their most significant barrier to becoming more data-driven, with a further 30% highlighting the cost implications to their business. 

AND Media says that, unsurprisingly, anxieties around data compliance and regulation were seen as barriers for nearly a third (31%) of decision-makers.  

In addition, 68% of respondents admit they lack the right technology to be considered data-centric, with almost one in five (16%) saying legacy infrastructure is holding them back.

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