Businesses understand the value of big data, but employees aren't being trained to use it

A study found that most data being collected is never analyzed, which may be due to a data skills gap.

A study from Accenture and data analytics firm Qlik has discovered a massive problem in the big data world: A skills gap that is costing companies billions of dollars.

There is a huge amount of data in the world, and the volume of it is only going to grow. Businesses of all types can find value in data analytics, and their employees agree: 87% of those surveyed believe that data is an asset for their organization. 

Despite most people understanding that the data their company collects could affect organizational future, not many people know what to do with it--and few are even trying. 

A mere 25% of respondents said they feel prepared to make use of data, only 37% think their decisions are made better with data, and 74% feel overwhelmed when working with data at all. 

Adding data to their workloads has caused one-third of workers to report taking at least one sick day due to stress tied to working with it. 

A lack of preparation and feeling stressed about data doesn't bode well for companies that want to utilize it to make decisions, especially when 36% of respondents reported that they would seek alternative methods of solving a problem without using data, and 14% said they would avoid the task altogether.

The bottom line is that data is in danger: It can transform businesses for the better and help improve organizational decision making and planning, but only if it's being utilized correctly. If Accenture is correct, it isn't.

How to build a data-literate organization

Data is the future of business, and organizations that want to remain competitive need to find a way to make use of it. That means building a data-literate organization, for which Accenture and Qlik have five tips.

1: Set expectations around data use

Know what kind of data you have, what you want to do with it, and why you want to do it. Once leadership knows these three things it's easy to start building a companywide model of who does what with data.