Big BPO opportunities for Big Data

Here’s one niche for Philippine BPOs to cater to the Australian market. Processing Big Data.

From IT Wire

Skills stymie big data push

Access to skills has been identified as one of the key limiting factors for the exploitation of so called big data analytics in Australia, with offshoring also failing to fill the vacant positions.

Last week technology analyst Gartner pointed to the creation of 4.4 million jobs internationally to support the application of big data by 2015. However speaker after speaker at Cebit’s Big Data conference in Sydney today lamented the lack of specialist skills to support big data analysis.

According to Antony Ugani, head of analytics and research operations at NAB,; “You can store as much of your data as you want – but if you can’t make sense of it” then its value was limited.

“The thing I am most frightened about is that when I was getting my Masters there were four of us with statistics and applied maths and 200 with database skills.” He said that there were no signs of any improvement in that ratio.

“When we have a vacancy I can’t find good people.” When the right people were available they were costly he said.

He said that offshoring did not seem to offer any obvious solutions, saying that even in India about one in three analytic roles could not be filled.

Mr Ugani said that although he believed all of the four big banks were heavily investing in big data, there was a particular challenge for the smaller financial organisations who could find it difficult to assemble a team.

CBS Interactive director of insights and research, Leon Bombotas said that he believed tools and utilities would be developed to help tackle the problem, and that crowdsourcing organisations such as Kaggle would also provide access to data analysis skills.

Rami Mukhtar, big data analytics project leader at Nicta, however warned that crowdsourcing would not prove a skills panacea. Not only were there confidentiality issues associated with loading corporate data onto a crowdsourcing site, he said that Kaggle was often more appropriate for handling analytical problems rather than truly big data issues.

Dr Mukhtar predicted that in the future there would be a range of applications and data products which emerged that could be useful for small and medium enterprises, which provided them with business insight without their having to build that themselves.

But for very large organisations looking to use data to offer marketplace and competitive differentiation in-house big data analysis remains the holy grail. Gartner has already estimated that big data will drive $US28 billion worth of IT spending internationally in 2012.

In his big data skills analysis released last week Gartner senior vice president Peter Sondergaard warned that; “One a third of the IT jobs will be filled. Data experts will be a scarce and valuable commodity.”

Despite the scarcity of skills Mr Sondergaard believed that; “Leading organisations of the future will be distinguished by the quality of their predictive analytics. This is the CIO challenge and opportunity.”

Greg Nichelsen, head of business intelligence and customer insights at ING Direct, told delegates at the big data conference that in terms of liberating the value from big data; “Data skills are the biggest hurdle.”

He said it was important to build a team able to tackle issues such as data integration, statistics, analysis and visualization. “When I hire, I hire only graduates because it’s hard to get all that from someone working in the industry too long.”

Mok Oh, who was PayPal’s chief scientist until a month ago when he resigned to work on his own business venture, said that businesses which were exploring big data needed to determine its importance to the business before deciding whether to outsource big data analysis or build an in house team.

He said that for PayPal it had been determined to have definite core value and therefore worthy of developing an in house team.

Clive Gold,  marketing chief technology officer for EMC however warned that many enterprises might find using Kaggle as their only way to find the skills they needed.

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