The shortage of data scientists continues to persist in the UAE as one-third firms have a team of dedicated data scientists for their analytics work, according to a new survey released on Sunday.
Commissioned by the US-based Alteryx, the survey results showed that two fifths - a 41 per cent UAE firms find it easier now to access the talent needed to manage analytics than last year. But only 32 per cent have a team of dedicated data scientists for all their analytics work.
Due to the shortage of shortage of data scientists, businesses are asking those in analytics and line-of-business roles to do more, to know more and to answer pressing business questions with data, it said.
With digital skills classed as a major priority for businesses, over four in five (83 per cent) agree that everything they are investing in data and analytics is useless without people who understand it.
The trend is apparent with nearly half of (40 per cent) the UAE businesses prioritising a focus on employee data skills and talent to avoid being left behind as the world of data-driven analytics heats up around them.
With more than three-quarters - 79 per cent - of the UAE survey respondents agreed that data is a critical corporate asset for driving the business forward.
When it comes to where businesses are in their analytical journey, 62 per cent of the UAE businesses class themselves in the advanced stages of their journeys.
For those companies leveraging data for insights over two fifths (41 per cent) report the major business benefit as increased productivity.
Highlighting its status as one of the most advanced digital economies, nearly three quarters (70 per cent) of the UAE businesses believe that data has become so valuable it is equivalent to a new currency.
"The business case for analytics has truly been acknowledged. While many are still balancing data inefficiencies with the challenge of a shortage of skilled data workers, this latest research from Alteryx underscores that investing in data and analytics technology alone won't deliver real business-altering results," said Alan Jacobson, chief data and analytics officer at Alteryx.
Abboud Ghanem, senior director for Middle East and Africa at Alteryx, said every data worker, regardless of technical acumen, wants to be able to easily find and understand what information is at their disposal; have the flexibility to prep, blend, enhance and analyse data from more sources; and easily operationalise analytic models through a collaborative and governed platform.
The UAE businesses anticipate the biggest technology game-changers for data analytics success within the next five years to include self-service analytics (31 per cent), augmented data discovery (27 per cent) and explainable AI (27 per cent), said the survey, which covered 500 UAE businesses.