Cotec Foundation advocates to boost Big Data talent

Cotec has presented the report "Big Data talent generation in Spain" that emphasizes the need to incorporate Big Data talent to boost the digital economy.

Reading time: 4 min

Fernando Menéndez 

Public Policy, Telefónica.


“We are a country of digital migrants. We need professionals trained in data so that they can help companies lead their digital transformations” recently commented Chema Alonso, Chief Data Officer at Telefónica, at the presentation of the Cotec report titled “Generation of Big Data talent in Spain” in which a broad analysis about the Big Data Spanish market situation and perspectives, was presented.

In the report, driven and coordinated by Telefónica, a score of institutions that are part of the Cotec Trust jointly collaborated during the past year. The report was also presented by Cristina Garmendia, President of the Cotec Foundation; Pablo González, Deloitte Digital partner; and David Sanz, Global Head of Big Data at Everis.


Cristina Garmendia, President of Cotec, and Chema Alonso, CDO at Telefónica.


One of the document’s main conclusions is the need to incorporate Big Data talent at every level of companies, and to promote and improve the training of professionals in this discipline because the impact of the economy’s digitalization and the automation of tasks on jobs is an opportunity and a concern for companies, public administrations and society as a whole.

Carme Artigas, Co-founder of Synergic Partners, Telefónica Group company that specializes in Big Data, Data Science, and Data Engineering, emphasizes this in the report:


“The Big Data market is growing 30% each year in Spain, seven times greater than investments in traditional information technologies. It is a solid wager for increasing a company’s sources of revenue, consolidating its personalization and client loyalty strategies, and driving its digital transformation.”


The report also indicates that a way to generate talent in Spain is through networks, where innovation and creation must be pillars, in which knowledge and experiences can be shared. One example is the data visualization and interpretation artistic laboratories where people with different profiles converge with data scientists. Europe is also making progress in the creation of spaces of innovation for Big Data (iSpaces) in which the intention is to bring together the efforts of agents from the worlds of academia, business, and government.

According to the data presented in this study, the estimated value of the data economy in Europe represented 1.87% of the GDP of member countries in 2015 (272 billion Euro), and is predicted to reach 4.7% in 2020. In addition, 65% of all companies run the risk of becoming irrelevant or non-competitive if they do not adopt Big Data. The Big Data market in Spain is growing 30% each year, and employed 10,500 professionals in 2015. As a first warning, 19% of those job positions were generated outside of the country. The Big Data global market will grow from 18.3 billion USD in 2014 to 92.2 billion USD in 2026.

Prediction of Wilkibon Big Data software, hardware and professional services


Some companies in Spain are already wagering on Big Data. Cotec pointed some of them out in the document, highlighting the following:

  • Telefónica: During 2016, an ambitious data transformation plan was launched with a clear mission: to promote the application of bulk data in the business in order to become a data controlled company. Aura, the cognitive intelligence tool presented by José María Álvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefónica, and Chema Alonso at the Mobile World Congress, is at the centre of this company strategy.
  • ArcelorMittal is the largest steel company in the world with a workforce of almost 220,000 professionals and with presence in more than 60 countries. As a result of the transformative culture of its innovation centers, ArcelorMittal is starting to use Big Data technologies to improve the quality of service provided to plants.

The report reaches a series of conclusions aimed at promoting this industry:

  1. Solid and long-lasting educational systems: the promotion of new areas of knowledge and the generation of good educational practices from primary education to university training.
  2. The education of human resources personnel in Big Data.
  3. The fostering of managers in Big Data: promoting an evolution of companies towards the Data Driven culture.
  4. The development of creative and differential attraction strategies:
  • Postgraduate and graduate programs in universities.
  • Job forums in universities.
  • Student focused internship programs.
  • The establishment of specific career plans for these profiles.
  1. The development of internal training programs, as well as attractive incentives systems for employees.
  2. The availability of training centres of reference: To facilitate the access to knowledge in experimentation environments that make the generation of talent possible, empower the capability of innovation, and that favour the exchange of experiences.
  3. The role of governments: to support the academic entities so that they can produce degrees or postgraduate programs related to data; to pass laws that favour the security and intimacy of the users.



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