Singapore schools see value in analytics

Tertiary institutions in city-state slow to introduce business analytics into their curriculum but that's changing with more providing such courses, says SAS exec.

SINGAPORE--Singapore's tertiary institutions have been slow to recognize the importance of equipping their students with business analytics skills in the past but this situation is changing with more providing such courses, according to a SAS executive.

Bill Lee, managing director of Singapore and regional accounts for SAS, said the curriculum here was "broken" in that it had not caught up with changes in the market. To give weight to his assertion, he noted that business and information science graduates were not skilled in business analytics. He went on to point out that the only "true" analytics practitioners in the country today are mostly foreigners and it is "very rare" to find local talents. This dearth in local talent is further emphasized because adoption of business analytics in Singapore is advanced within Asia, noted the executive during a media briefing here Thursday.

That said, Singapore's use of analytics is still "five years behind" markets such as the United States, France and Australia, Lee noted. Australian companies, for example, have a culture of using analytics to aid in their business decisions. Elaborating, the executive cited an Australian telco which has a "rigorous process" of sifting through data derived from analytics to understand its market, customers' needs and competition before introducing a new product or service.

Increasing talent pool
To increase the local talent pool, SAS had partnered the Singapore Management University (SMU) to introduce analytics into their programs three years ago, said Lee. He added that SMU now has three such programs.

Other tertiary institutions have also caught on, Lee said. Since late-May, SAS has partnered with the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Polytecnic and Republic Polytecnic to provide the schools with the necessary business analytics know-how, technologies and alignment with what the industries need.

Lee did give credit to the Singapore government for driving the growth of analytics domestically. According to an earlier report, the government had identified business analytics as 1 of 7 themes with which it would align its 2010 ICT projects to.


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