Industry experts predict that "through 2019, 90% of large organizations will have hired a Chief Data Officer (CDO); of these, only 50% will be hailed a success." - Gartner
I imagine that many Chief Data Officers (CDO) are daunted by the task before them. To be successful, they must deliver tangible business value. However, the talent they need to make this happen is just not available in the job market.
We've all heard the McKinsey Global Institute's prediction regarding a shortfall of 1.5 million analysts and managers with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions[i]. It is projected to peak in 2018, but we feel it now.
So, what can CDOs do to secure the talent they need to do the job? What would Jack do?
In 1995, Jack Welch, then CEO of General Electric, declared that GE would be a six sigma company by the year 2000. Welch knew that he needed trained data-centric business process analysts to examine, diagnose, and improve the process issues the company was experiencing. There was just one problem. In 1995, six sigma practitioners did not exist in the job marketplace. Welch proved that when a company needs people with special skills that are difficult or impossible to find, upskilling existing employees already familiar with company business models is a winning strategy.
Rather than hire outside consultants, none of which possessed the GE specific domain knowledge required to realize his vision, Welch decided to invest in creating skilled professionals from within GE's own ranks. And so was born the Six Sigma training industry.
Welch included the entire organization in this transformational movement. All GE employees were trained in the strategy, statistical tools and techniques of Six Sigma quality. Training courses were offered at various levels from conceptual overview to master practitioner.
Welch proved that the process of enhancing existing employee skills is the catalyst to transforming organizational culture.
GE's results were nothing short of amazing. With the support of top management and an emphasis on mentoring, GE saved $700 million USD in the first two years. Over the five-year course of GE's entire six Sigma transformation, the company realized an overall cost savings of $12 billion USD.
Welch proved that when a company needs people with special skills that are difficult or impossible to find, upskilling existing employees already familiar with company business models is a winning strategy. In addition, the process of enhancing existing employee skills is the catalyst to transforming organizational culture. Data-based problem analysis became the core of GE's DNA.
Companies have spent millions upskilling employees to have a process excellence mindset. Data science is the continuation of this mission with more emphasis on data. Therefore, it makes sense to leverage the existing investment and focus on enhancing the skills of this population to add value in the least amount of time with the least amount of investment.
In a recent study conducted by the team at Ambient Intelligence, Inc. it was determined that the skills of Lean Six Sigma professionals, for example, fulfill 70% of those needed to be a successful in the new age of big data and analytics.
To learn more about the proven methods developed by Ambient Intelligence, Inc. visit us today.
[i] Manyika, James, Big data: the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity, McKinsey Global Institute, May 2011; accessed Nov 2016,
Marie L. Clark is the Founder of Ambient Intelligence, Inc. and is currently their Chief Idea and Innovation Officer. Marie is leading a movement in support of organizations and individuals; preparing them to win the talent race and position themselves for success in the business and professional ecosystems of the 4th Industrial Revolution.