The results of this research demonstrate the challenges that South African businesses have with automation, intelligence and management of data. By far the most critical future skill identified that businesses will continue to require in the next 5 years is ‘Data Analyst’. This critical role includes collecting/gathering data, analysing and interpreting this data and making improvements in existing data models. Equally critical is the science behind managing and obtaining intelligence from data which explains the 2nd and 3rd most critical (in demand) future skills identified by respondents over the next five years: ‘Data Scientist’ and ‘Machine Learning Specialist’. A subset of artificial intelligence, Machine Learning enables specialists to study algorithms that improve automatically and intelligently through experience.