The organisations World over are taking various measures for competitive advantage, remain relevant and for the survival. Those ranges from adopting various strategies and technologies. What we are seeing is there is larger role of technology in the businesses. Further, the technologies themselves are used as larger part of strategy as well the vehicle for an organisation’s competitiveness and survival.
Organisations are realising a great merit and value in the adoption of the digital technologies. There is spurt in the digitalisation of the organisation at various levels and speed both for large and small corporations. Main focus is on making business processes more transparent, efficient, controllable and automate. It has changed the entire ecosystem of production, processing, storage and distribution of both products and services. Big data analytics is the broader umbrella of technologies which not only provide framework and platform for the storage and processing of data from heterogeneous sources but also provide sophisticated algorithm based on machine learning and deep learning for analysing the data and derive insight from it.
VALUE OF BIG DATA ANALYTICS
Most organisations are turning to advanced analytics through business intelligence tools, data mining, and predictive or prescriptive data analysis. Some of the prominent sectors that are switching to analytics as a fundamental component of their functioning include finance, sales, marketing, supply chain logistics and shop floor among others.
The source of data are the business processes, customer and supplier engagement data, transaction data, as well as the millions of sensors in the form of Internet of Things (IoTs) and also the data stored on the Clouds. Big Data Analytics uses these data for the creating and running highly efficient and automated business processes. One of the important implications of use of big data analytics is to have data driven decision making and business processes across the hierarchy and breadth of businesses. Big data analytics is a key driver for innovation; more and more companies are using big data analytics to bring new innovative products and services by analysing the large and complex data. Consequently, there is a growing demand for professionals who are skilled in big data analytics. Also, there is a larger focus by big organisations to re-skill their workforce specially in the area of big data analytics.
Professionals with skills in big data analytics are in high demand and draw premium. Some of the key responsibilities is to obtain data from divergent sources, clean and pre-process the data, train machines to learn and do intelligent work based on the data, and deploy these machine learning models in the data driven processes. They together give us new insight for taking decision, data driven action and even help make prediction. For this they also need an Apache Hadoop framework for handling bid data set. They help create dash boards where data and tasks can be seen and visualised in real time. These are fundamental for any business and key for the business growth.
To become a big data specialist, a professional need a variety of skills including programming using Python or Scala, knowledge of statistics to use large data effectively and of course knowledge of machine learning algorithms to derive insight from the data. Professionals also need to have problem solving skills and critical thinking to take advantage of this larger information ecosystem.
BRIDGING THE SKILL GAP
As global markets are rapidly transitioning towards automation and computing, especially due to the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), modern businesses are struggling to scout for skilled professionals who possess the relevant expertise. Therefore, the scope for a promising career opportunity in big data analytics is consistently expanding.
There is a significant deficit in the supply side of big data professionals as compared to its soaring demands in the current job market. This is a global trend, wherein despite the overwhelming requirements for this skill set, there is a huge number of unfulfilled positions due to the shortage of skilled data scientists.
If the case of the Indian market is considered in isolation, there is a challenging scarcity of big data professionals. Bridging this deficit can attract global organisations to outsource their work to Indian employees, a trend which is expected to grow by several folds in the coming years. Considering a career as a data scientist or analytics consultant, depending upon the niche of expertise is a great option for professionals who are seeking to create commendable impacts in the corporate scenario.
B-SCHOOLS’ ROLE IN BIG DATA
To effectively use big data skills in a business environment professional also need to have core business and management skills so that they can transform their business problem in a form which analytics platform can help solve. Since these skill sets come from variety of disciplines a systematic approach is definitely desired.
Leading B-schools around the world as well as in India are recognising the promising opportunities in the power of big data. They are curating their curriculum accordingly to impart key and relevant skills that foster the problem-solving skills and curiosity to the students and prepare them to become competent professionals in a data driven economy.
Management institutes are offering both introductory and advanced courses in Big Data depending on the role and responsibilities of the professionals and the career goal of the students. Coupled with their practical exposure to programing, platform and machine learning models and Automation, these B-schools are determined to produce multifaceted leaders of tomorrow.
Big data analytics may come across as an advanced framework for formulating strategies and data driven decision. However, it is an effective method to comprehend data and offer impactful solutions. Keeping this scenario in mind, it is safe to predict that the career possibilities in this field will skyrocket in the coming years.
Prof Lalit K. Jiwani is professor and area chair of Information Technology at FORE School of Management, New Delhi.