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A Proactive Data Strategy for Accelerating Digital Transformation Amid the Great Resignation

A Proactive Data Strategy for Accelerating Digital Transformation Amid the Great Resignation

From healthcare and biotechs to enterprise IT, the Great Resignation is having a seismic impact on industries across the board. The feelings are particularly acute in the enterprise IT space, where technical talent has already been in short supply for years. 

The hiring crunch is enough of a challenge on its own. But the shortage of available IT professionals is compounding problems by creating a downstream impact on enterprises’ digital transformation efforts. Even more concerning is that many enterprise leaders may not even be aware of how one problem exacerbates the other. 

As talent shortages slow businesses’ data management efforts, the Great Resignation’s effect on the enterprise IT space may begin impacting both top-line performance and the ability to deliver on major digital transformation projects. The more digital transformation is held back, the harder it becomes for these businesses to recruit and retain talent. 

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While there’s no single solution to this problem, leveraging new data strategies like automated data lineage mapping may provide one way to relieve some of the pressure and offer a new path forward for accelerating your digital transformation plans. 

IT Talent Shortages Are Driven by the Growing Gap Between Supply and Demand

Digital transformation means just about every organization is becoming an IT organization, as the number of technologies and volumes of data managed on a daily basis rapidly expand. Skilled IT professionals are in high demand across the board. But companies particularly need experienced data engineers to overhaul and oversee the robust data and analytics environments that are becoming more critical to the success of every organization. 

The competition for IT talent is fiercer than ever, but it’s not just a retention problem. With IT professionals changing jobs as part of the Great Resignation, it’s a recruiting problem as well as a talent pool problem.

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Although demand for IT professionals is up, there hasn’t been a commensurate increase in either the number of universities or the number of computer science graduates coming out of these universities. Universities just aren’t producing enough technical talent in general, and as a result, the talent pool for IT professionals like data scientists, engineers, and developers has remained relatively stagnant, all while demand has skyrocketed. Coupled with the overarching Great Resignation, this has created a perfect storm of IT retention and recruiting challenges. 

How Worker Shortages Are Impeding Your Digital Transformation Plans

As more organizations become data-driven, they are realizing with greater urgency the business-critical need for data engineers to enable their data pipelines and integrated data structures. But data engineers aren’t easy to come by. 

A successful data engineer is good at programming, with years of industry-specific expertise and a solid foundation in DevOps, not to mention more recent trends like AI and machine learning. Despite being one of the fastest-growing occupations in tech, data engineers are in short supply to fulfill every enterprise’s data needs. Consequently, this shortage of data engineers is holding back companies from being able to deploy new technologies, like AI, ML, and other automation solutions.

Larger workloads coupled with staffing shortages are also making it harder for data compliance teams to keep their organizations in line with increasingly strict data privacy regulations, sparked by expanding data sprawl. Managing larger data workloads and increased regulations with fewer people can leave businesses vulnerable to non-compliance risks.

Think of your major Cloud Migration projects.

Whether adopting a hybrid-Cloud strategy or shifting your entire environment to a new Cloud-based infrastructure, how will your storage and infrastructure teams be able to manage and execute these efforts if too many team members leave their jobs and there aren’t enough candidates to replace them? 

In all of these cases, the organization’s ability to digitally transform and derive new business value from those initiatives is being hamstrung by an inability to retain top IT talent and recruit enough new talent to fill out the ranks. This creates a negative feedback loop, where a lack of IT retention and recruiting undercuts your digital transformation projects — and the resulting lack of digital transformation makes retention and recruiting even harder. 

Digital transformation is all about modernization and automation. Engineers and developers don’t want to waste their time and energy on manual, routine tasks. If your organization lacks the AI and machine learning capabilities to automate some of these tedious duties, you’re going to have a hard time getting a data engineer to stay or even join your organization in the first place. It’s no surprise why they may head for an organization with a more modern IT environment instead.

Leveraging New Data Strategies to Get Ahead of the Talent Crunch

Technology alone cannot solve the IT talent gap.

But the right data strategy can help organizations ahead of data pipeline issues that would otherwise put pressure on their teams – teams that have limited bandwidth as it is.

Fixing a bug in production is 100 times more expensive than fixing it in the design phase. Imagine the magnitude and cost of that issue for a mid-size organization with 100 data engineers. Now imagine it for a giant organization with 1,000 data engineers. 

Data engineering needs a more proactive, preventive approach. Solutions like data lineage mapping can significantly increase the productivity of data teams by automating manual processes around change and incident management. They can eliminate the need for manual impact analysis, fire fighting, and other monotonous tasks that drain your talented data professionals’ time and energy — and risk burning them out or motivating them to leave the organization altogether. 

Data lineage and other automation technologies are by no means a cure-all for fixing the talent retention and recruiting problems in the enterprise IT world – these trends existed before the Great Resignation and will linger after it’s over. But solutions like these can help empower organizations to use their existing talent more effectively, putting them on more interesting jobs with more rewarding outcomes – something that not only helps keep IT talent onboard, but doubles as a great recruiting tool for new candidates.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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