A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forecast that nearly 2.7 million data science and analytics jobs will be created globally in the next three years by data-driven organisations eager to gain operational insights from analytics that support them in making strategic business decisions quickly and more effectively.
Data science is one of the fastest-growing interdisciplinary fields of work globally, with governments and organisations increasingly recognising the benefits of analytical data and data science results for their development, growth, and ability to innovate to meet the needs of their clients and internal resources.
The soaring interest in analytics has resulted in a global skills gap, with McKinsey Inc. predicting a current field-wide shortfall of between 40-60 per cent. The US data science industry alone will require an additional 190,000 people by 2018.
Data analytics go mainstream
To support a ‘data and analytics everywhere’ world, IT professionals need to create a new end-to-end architecture built for agility, scale and experimentation. Today, disciplines are merging and approaches to data and analytics are becoming more holistic and encompassing the entire business, according to Ted Friedman, Vice President and Analyst at Gartner.
Forward-thinking organisations are already on this path, he says. The value created will leave less-prepared competitors trailing in their wake in everything from customer analytics to data monetisation to operations planning and more.
There are three key trends that will drive this profound change in the use of data and analytics:
1. Data and analytics will drive modern business operations, and not simply reflect their performance.
2. Organisations will take a holistic approach to data and analytics. Businesses will create end-to-end architectures that will allow for data management and analytics from the core to the edge of the organisation.
3. Executives will make data and analytics part of the business strategy, which will allow data and analytics professionals to assume new roles and create business growth.
Shifting the way organisation uses data and analytics more toward driving business operations requires a new approach to data architectures, which many organisations are already building. Last year Gartner research found that 45 per cent of IT professionals had indicated that new data and analytics projects were in the ‘design’ and ‘select’ phases.
However, existing data architectures are in most cases not ready for the future of data and analytics. Digital business requires architectures that are purpose-built and flexible to adapt to an organisation that expands its data and experiments with it. The rapid scalability of cloud computing infrastructure can make this possible. It’s no longer a question of ‘if’ for using cloud for data and analytics, it’s ‘how’.
Data analytics’ education boost in the Middle East
In an effort to address the shortfall in the job market, analytics software and services provider SAS offers SAS Global Academic Programs in data science and advanced analytics skills. Its latest collaboration is with the American University of Science & Technology (AUST) in Beirut, a pioneer in the adoption and use of technology to enable quality education in Lebanon.
Yigit Karabag, Information Management & Analytics Practice Manager at SAS said: “The demand for data scientists within organisations who can collect, organise and analyse data using advanced techniques such as Data Mining and Machine Learning to help decision makers arrive at sound business solutions is growing rapidly. With the ongoing digital revolution, the possibilities offered by Data Science are immense.”
AUST is the first in Lebanon to launch Business Analytics and Data Science academic programs, both at the undergraduate and the graduate level.
Riad Sakr, Vice President at AUST said: “We believe that Business Analytics & Data Science are not just passing fads, but long-lasting and valuable disciplines which are sought after by local, regional, and International companies. Analytics are the skills, technologies, and practices that drive decision-making, and are vital for deriving maximum business value from organisational investments.”
The university’s Centre for Learning & Development has also established a post–graduate professional diploma in Data Science with SAS in collaboration with Matrix TRC.