Employees lack the training for digital challenges

15 May 2018

The skills shortage is having a detrimental impact on UK businesses and could pose serious risks in the years ahead, warns Sungard Availability Services.

In an independent survey carried out last October, the company polled 150 IT decision makers, 150 line of business decision makers and 300 employees (middle management and below). Interviewees were from companies of 500+ employees across multiple sectors in the UK.

According to the study, decision makers regard the skills shortage as their biggest issue impacting digital initiatives, while 70 per cent of employees claim they’re not getting the training or tools they need to add value back to the business.

Despite what Sungard describes as “extensive media hype and scare-mongering” about technologies such as AI impacting or replacing human jobs (also see front page news, Nov 2017 issue), the research found that just 49 per cent of businesses have this listed as a technology that will help them prepare for the challenges they face.

The company says in reality, cloud (75 per cent), IoT (69 per cent) and Big Data analytics (64 per cent) are the “big three” when ranking these technologies – AI doesn’t even make the top four.

As a result, Sungard believes businesses need to invest in their staff, not just in strategic technologies.

But its survey also says more than a quarter of UK workers believe they are unable to adopt digital working practices because of a lack of training – only 30 per cent stated their employer had provided them with the tools to overcome the challenges they are facing.

“In addition to Brexit and GDPR, the lack of digital skills is yet another challenge facing UK organisations over the next couple of years,” says Sungard AS CMO Kathy Schneider.

“To remain competitive, businesses will need to prioritise digital skills development and training to help navigate the new technology trends.

This means investing not only in technologies and systems, but also in training around the required skills. Communication of the challenges and the digital journey ahead will be vital to ensuring business resiliency. Failure to do so could open businesses up to unnecessary – and avoidable – risks.”