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  • SaaS
    September 29, 2020

How Cloud Applications Can Close the Data Skills Gap

Guest Author

By Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources, Author and HR Influencer

Intelligent applications can now alert HR leaders to warning signs that an employee is not happy and likely to leave. In finance, leaders can use super-speedy analysis of numbers to tactically plan for different future scenarios in the wake of hugely disruptive events, such as a pandemic. And in marketing and sales, conversational digital assistants can enable companies to cost-effectively provide more effective personalized service at scale.

As business data grows exponentially, smart organizations are looking for more ways to extract value with sophisticated applications to help people across the enterprise make better decisions, proactively manage the unexpected, and engage nontechnical employees.

But the thirst for these new capabilities has led to a skills gap for understanding and applying intelligent analytics and automation; and not just for technical roles, such as data scientists, but also for non-technical roles, such as accountants and business development reps.

The challenge is complicated by the uniqueness of every workplace, factoring in things like resource availability, strategy, and geography. What works for a San Francisco-based tech darling probably won’t work for a Midwest factory.

One promising way to address skills gaps in any scenario is to adopt an integrated suite of SaaS business applications that provides multiple options for incorporating emerging technologies.

Using Technology to Attract Technical Talent

Filling technical roles is a challenge because the market for these skills is white-hot. For example, according to LinkedIn, “data scientist” was the No. 1 most promising job in the U.S. in 2019 based on openings, salary, and career advancement opportunities.

Advanced technologies are shaping the roles of data scientists and data engineers in multiple ways. Primarily, they have increased demand for their skills and experience. But they also have become a way to attract such talent.

If your organization is dedicated to using cutting-edge cloud technology, talented people will want to come work with you because they want to be a part of that. At the same time, intelligent automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and other technologies can actually reduce the need for certain tasks and roles so that talent can be refocused on more engaging work.

For example, companies that successfully deploy these technologies via SaaS enterprise applications are discovering that they don't need as many application developers. I foresee a future in which cloud-based technologies will leverage AI to code much more quickly, efficiently, and even more accurately than a human coder.

How Business Users Will Adapt

There’s another group we have to consider in all of this: nontechnical workers who use business applications. Emerging technologies will have a dramatic impact on their daily work lives as well, so organizations will need to help them navigate these changes. This is made easier by SaaS suites that provide options for adding ready-to-go applications for emerging technologies that are designed for nontechnical users and can be easily offered through familiar functional applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP).

The challenge will be to reassure employees that their roles are not being replaced by technology but enhanced by it. We have to educate all of our employees across the spectrum to understand that intelligent technology is going to make their lives better.

How? Consider the many AI-driven scheduling tools that have come on the market recently. Thanks to them, everyone involved in a meeting is spared the time and frustration of trying to find an opening in multiple schedules, sending emails back and forth, and distracting from the actual work at hand.

Organizations must also be prepared to recruit and train business users in the skills needed to take advantage of emerging technologies—focusing more on the strategic side of their jobs as their tactical responsibilities decline.

Imagine I’m an executive working in my HR system, and I receive a message from a digital assistant informing me that Mary, a high-value employee, is at risk of leaving her job. The system made this determination by analyzing Mary’s interactions with data across multiple systems that revealed a pattern that suggests declining engagement. The system could then offer me suggestions for proactive actions I can take to address Mary’s needs and reduce her risk of departure.

This scenario calls for the need for both technical understanding of how the software reached this conclusion and human understanding of how to best activate the suggestions for Mary.

Move Past Skills Gap with SaaS

Digital transformation continues to have a powerful impact on the skillsets your organization needs to stay ahead of the competition, but there are different ways to address this challenge. Adopting a flexible, resilient, and integrated cloud suite of business applications can not only help you attract needed talent, but also help you successfully move ahead if that talent isn’t available.

To learn how Oracle’s suite of enterprise cloud applications leverages advanced technology to transform information into knowledge, visit oracle.com/applications.

 

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With over 15 years of experience in talent acquisition, Tim Sackett is president of HRU Technical Resources and also has worked as a staffing director on the corporate side with companies like Applebee’s International, ShopKo Stores, Inc., and Sparrow Health System. He’s an active HR blogger and conference presenter.

 

 

 

 

 

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