The Record - Issue 19: Winter 2020

48 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om Ryan Fennerty explains how General Assembly and Microsoft are helping organisations to upskill employees with skills in data analysis, visualisation and predictive modelling The power of upskilling W hen a US-based healthcare company decided to implement digital technol- ogies to optimise internal processes and develop artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to help customers access services more efficiently, it was faced with a significant challenge: it simply did not have enough employees with the neces- sary data science skills to achieve these goals. However, rather than hiring externally, the healthcare company decided it would find a way to upskill and reskill its existing employees. To do this, it joined forces with a range of partners including Microsoft and global education pro- vider General Assembly and launched a pilot data scientist training course. According to Ryan Fennerty, head of busi- ness development and partnerships at General Assembly, the course has been created to help the healthcare company to quickly build “citizen data scientists” who can work across all critical areas of the business. “Many organisations are prioritising building data-driven mindsets, behaviours and cultures to enable them to innovate more quickly and adopt artificial intelligence (AI) technologies,” he says. “However, a common challenge for many large companies is that their data sci- ence skillset is often concentrated in central analytics functions where staff must prioritise mission-critical data projects over everything I NT E R V I EW BY R E B E CCA G I B SON