Neil O’Keefe is DMA’s SVP of Content. This piece was originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of The Marketer Quarterly.

Today’s businesses are facing a growing gap between potential technological capability and the talent they have to leverage this technology. In a recent Conference Board survey of 500 chief executives, 66 percent responded that a failure to embrace digital transformation will damage their company’s ability to remain competitive, yet only seven percent felt their employees had the skills and knowledge to tackle that transformation.

For data-driven marketers who pursue stronger and more relevant customer connections, this is not a challenge to be addressed in the future – it is a critical business need for today.

How are companies bridging this talent deficit? At IBM, they’re turning to new sources of talent, what the company describes as “new collar” jobs. In the last several years, 10 to 15 percent of IBM’s new hires did not hold a traditional four-year degree. Their backgrounds, either from community college or vocational programs, are examples of the new paths to technology jobs.

Technology’s Double-Edged Sword

For current employees aspiring to build on their existing skills, the key to learning is efficiency and convenience. As work mows down boundaries of personal time due with smartphone availability, half of employees surveyed recently by Future Workplace feel they cannot even take a break during the work day. As a result, new skill pursuits suffer.

Technology is an equal opportunity phenomenon, however. It also empowers employees to learn and master new skills at their fingertips. “Bite-sized” chunks of content can be consumed over lunch, even on mobile devices. The democratization of content production has also torn down the wall between experts and the audience, meaning that experts no longer need to find an established organization to host them and consumers can find their content on open sites such as YouTube.

Enter DMA 360

At DMA, we see and are supporting the availability of learning to advance our industry and grow talent. Our answer to the challenge? DMA 360, the ultimate in fingertip learning, 24/7. DMA 360 is a dynamic digital content library of business intelligence, best practices and advanced solutions – curated by DMA members and the DMA community. Think of it as a mashup of Facebook, YouTube, Yelp, Google and LinkedIn – all connected to a powerful, data-driven platform where the best content rises to the top.

In this platform, content and conversations from the entire data, media, technology and marketing universe are linked together. Content – including online and on-demand videos, whitepapers and case studies developed by marketing leaders – is voted up or down, meaning that the most compelling pieces rise to the top. Participants can share and compare with the best that the industry has to offer, consumable on your phone, tablet or laptop.

This is the collision of data, marketing, creativity and innovation, and we hope you join us to create the industry of the future.

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