The global IT market will require 20 per cent more skilled big data analytics roles than it currently has within the next five years, Les Rechan, general manager of IBM business analytics, has warned.
Speaking at IBM's Information On Demand 2013 conference in Las Vegas today, Rechan explained how this deficit equates to 150,000 people that need to be created and trained in the US alone.
"We need to infuse a culture of analytics everywhere in organisations, " said Rechan.
"[IBM calls] that imagining. We need to create a platform for big data analytics in a new architecture. We call that realising. But then we need to talk about managing the risk. We call that trusting.
"In the next five years, you and I will need 20 per cent more skills in this area. In the US alone, that's 150,000. Only one out of every ten organisations has the skills they need to succeed here."
Visible growth in the big data sector has recently been evidenced, Rechan pointed out, in New York city, which has just announced a chief analytics officer in the last couple of weeks. But there is more work to do, he stressed.
"Please imagine the skills, the roles, the new maturity needed," urged Rechan.
"Whether it's customer, operations, risk, buying or IT. This is about using analytics [everywhere] to get everything to the company."
IBM has, according to its senior VP and group executive for software and systems Steve Mills, spent a total of $20bn in the past year on acquisitions to allow it to "move into a world of decision-making excellence with big data", so it's perhaps unsurprising that IBM is banging the drum about both the need for data analysis, and the IT industry's apparent ground-level position in the sector: it clearly has some catching up to do.
But at the same time, IBM now claims that the Big Data Insights piece of its InfoSphere analytics product delivers four times the performance of anybody else's and, with the added speed offered by its BLU Accelerator, the company is boasting a data crunching speed 38 times greater than rival products.
Its Data in Motion offering, said Rechan, "Is almost like being able to stop time: everybody's seen the movie the Matrix. So there's glass and concrete flying everywhere, characters are fighting, and suddenly it freezes. The camera moves around and picks up things you couldn't see before."
It's an engaging piece of marketing speak, but is perhaps demonstrative of IBM's passion - on top of today's product announcements - to get a foot in the door with big data, and join the collective industry voice that is now screaming for data to become a legitimate industry, and to attract the skilled individuals it apparently needs to make the sector, as already cited in today's keynote, "the new crude oil".