IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

What happens when data management becomes a basic skill?

By Patrick Martlew
Fri 22 Jun 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article written by NetApp A/NZ managing director Glenn McPherson

All working Australians – not just those in IT – will soon need the skills to understand and manage data. In fact, current trends suggest data management will soon join the group “basic skills” like word processing and email that businesses expect of every worker. Are Australians ready to add this new skill to their repertoire? The question is, in a sense, moot: they’ll need to be if they want to stay competitive.

This isn’t to say that every Australian needs the skills and expertise to be a data scientist. That would be absurd. But they’ll need to at least grasp the fundamentals of how to manage, make sense of, and act upon the vast amounts of data changing every industry.

Some sectors – including the public sector – have already begun shoring up their skills to meet this wave of change. But to be truly ready, business leaders and hiring managers of all stripes must rethink the basics of recruitment, training, and talent development – and give IT a stake in each one of them.

Literacy or proficiency?

So far, the national agenda has revolved around raising Australians’ “data proficiency”: expert skills in manipulating and analysing data at scale. Data and analytics skills have gone to the forefront of leaders’ minds in consumer-facing industries like retail and finance, along with the public sector – where high rhetoric around data and innovation has been followed up with comprehensive training and upskilling opportunities for public servants.

These investments benefit not just specific organisations, but also the broader Australian talent pool. Yet if we focus solely on data proficiency, we risk overlooking a bigger, more basic issue: namely, that data affects all of us.

Data has already begun to transform every aspect of business – not just IT and leadership. It influences everyone’s job, from the front-line retail assistant to the back-end maintenance worker. And that means a fluency in data needs to extend well beyond the rarefied levels of data scientists, analysts, and other expert-level professionals.

In other words, we need to invest more in “data literacy”: the sort of basic-level skills like email or word-processing that every Australian can, should, and must master when entering the workforce. The ability to “read” data is one of those skills, along with the ability to comprehend simple trends or “translate” data-sets into meaningful insights.

Such skills relate closely to literacy in maths, statistics and probability in particular – skills that we still struggle to elevate and maintain in the essential early years of education. But even as governments invest heavily in STEM skills in our schools, business leaders and IT can and must do their part to raise data literacy levels.

Grammar and creativity

The first thing businesses can do is to make their data more easily comprehensible. Breaking data out of silos, putting it in a standard syntax, and rendering it readily accessible to any employee – all these will help employees improve their literacy levels as quickly as possible.

Doing so is akin to using correct grammar when teaching someone a new language: if you don’t, they’ll not only learn incorrectly but struggle to master even the basics. Putting this “grammar” in place already falls under IT’s responsibility, but business leaders must realise that its impact goes well beyond greater efficiency. At the same time, hiring managers need to consider data literacy in every role they hire for – not just those in the IT department. That means making a range of adjustments to everything from job application criteria to KPIs for talent development.

At some point, “basic data management” will come to occupy the same position on job descriptions as “fluency with Microsoft Office”. The earlier hiring managers incorporate basic data skills into their criteria, working with IT to refine exactly what they expect and look for, the better. At the same time, however, business leaders can’t afford to fall into the trap of simply assessing technical ability. You don’t hire a customer service manager or a copywriter for their IT skills, and that won’t change no matter how much data changes the way we work. And this is where creativity comes in.

The most valuable talents may not be able to crunch data like an analyst, but they should be able to use their basic literacy to create something – whether it’s a more fulfilling experience for customers, an improved product, or a cutting-edge piece of advertising. So far, much of Australia’s focus has been on the technical side of data, and that’s no bad thing. But as data literacy becomes a basic skill in the workforce, it’s creativity which will differentiate between good and exceptional talent.

The more we educate our students, graduates, and current talent to apply data to create something new, the faster our businesses will grow. We need data visionaries, not just more scientists or analysts. With the right grammar and syntax for data in place within our organisations, we’ll see them emerge and take Australian industry to the next level.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
SOTI
Australian consumers loyal to retailers who deliver speed and visibility
SOTI finds extensive order visibility and speed are the most important factors for turning one-off customers into loyal, long-term buyers.
Story image
Digital
Ivanti puts spotlight on power of employee digital experiences
The report revealed that 49% of employees are frustrated by the tech and tools their organisation provides and 64% believe this impacts morale.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Microsoft
ASI Solutions named finalist of Microsoft Surface Partner of the Year
"ASI Solutions has a strong Microsoft focus, building value by helping customers maximise investment in modern workplace solutions."
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Salesforce announces latest generation of MuleSoft
Salesforce has introduced the next generation of MuleSoft, a unified solution for automation, integration and APIs to automate any workflow.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
BitTitan
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Dicker Data
EXCLUSIVE: Why women in IT makes good business sense - Dicker Data
The Federal government wants to bolster female participation in the tech industry to at least 40% by 2030. Here's how one homegrown Australian company has already reached that goal.
Story image
Voice recognition
Renesas and Cyberon expand services with voice recognition
“We are honoured to collaborate with Renesas to simplify the development of embedded voice recognition functions."
Story image
Public Cloud
Public cloud services revenues top $400 billion in 2021
"For the next several years, leading cloud providers will play a critical role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."
Story image
Samsung
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.
Story image
Payroll
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Robotics
Evonik relies on Getac F110 tablet to control autonomous robot
The aim of the project is to evaluate the practicality of an automated robotic maintenance and inspection solution in the chemical industry.
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Infrastructure
New VMware offerings improve cloud infrastructure management
VMware has unveiled VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ to help organisations bring benefits of the cloud to existing on-prem infrastructure.
Project management
Discover the 4 crucial factors for choosing the right job-costing solution. Is your team struggling to cost jobs and keep projects running on budget?
Link image
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
SAS acquires Kamakura to propel risk technology innovation
Underscoring SAS growth in the domain-specific solutions space, the acquisition will enable SAS to greatly enhance the breadth of its risk solutions portfolio. 
Story image
Airwallex
How Airwallex helps businesses achieve globalisation success
As markets continue to shift, businesses need to be able to provide the same quality of service for customers regardless of where they are located around the world.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility
It's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.
Story image
Data ownership
Brands must reclaim trust by empowering data ownership
According to Twilio's new State of Personalisation Report 2022, 62% of consumers expect personalisation from brands, and yet only 40% trust brands to use their data responsibly and keep it safe.
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Wiise
Four things wholesale distributors need to consider for FY2023
In a post-pandemic world, there are many things for a distribution business to juggle. ERP solutions company Wiise narrows down what companies should focus on.
Story image
Cloudian
Cloudian, Vertica to deliver on-premise data warehouse platform
"We’re enabling our customers to capitalise on a leading object storage platform and maximise the value of their digital assets.”
Story image
Accounting
Four factors to consider when choosing the right job accounting solution
Progressive job-based businesses can achieve success by strengthening their ability to quantify every cost attributable to the delivery of an outcome for a customer.
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Data Protection
Five signs your business is ready to move to the cloud
Many organisations are thinking about moving to the cloud. But what are the signs you are ready, and what are the reasons to move?
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Macquarie Data Centres
Macquarie deal to pioneer CO2-cutting data centre tech in Australia
Macquarie Data Centres has signed a multi-year deal with ResetData, an Australian first provider using Submer data centre technology. 
Story image
Infrastructure
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Story image
Migration
SNP unveils next generation of CrystalBridge software platform
Data is a key pillar of every customer-centric organisation, as it relies on agile decisions to become increasingly sustainable and intelligent.
Story image
Awards
Microsoft names A/NZ Partner of the Year award winners
The awards recognise partners across the globe for their innovative use of Microsoft technologies to help customers succeed.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Metaverse
How the metaverse will change the future of the supply chain
The metaverse is set to significantly change the way we live and work, so what problems can it solve in supply chain management?
Digital Transformation
Discover the 5 signs your business is ready for a cloud-based ERP. Is your business being left behind as more of your competitors switch to the cloud?
Link image
Supply chain
Discover the 4 critical priorities for wholesale distribution businesses in FY23. Are you worried about how supply chain issues may affect your business in 2023?
Link image
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Productivity
Discover the 5 ways your ERP may be letting you down. Is your current system outdated, difficult to manage, and costing you a fortune?
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.