A new paper on "The Current State of Analytics in the Corporation" has been published by a group of researchers at Villanova University's Business Analytics Strategic Interest Group (in the US). The paper is to be published in the International Journal of Business Intelligence Research.
"Business intelligence and analytics in general are currently experiencing a resurgence in interest from both the business and academic communities. As a response to this, a Business Analytics Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed at Villanova University in 2007 to help better link up these two communities and to better support the growing needs of business. As a multi-disciplinary group composed of both analytics professionals and academics, one of the first tasks was to investigate how businesses viewed analytics and how they were incorporating them in actual practice. With this in mind, an interview questionnaire was developed and senior-level executives from a diverse group of sixteen different of firms were interviewed in a group context. Their responses led to the development of a new, integrated analytics curriculum and the establishment of a new Analytics Round Table. The results from this series of semi-structured interviews are presented in this paper."
The interviews reveal what most practitioners already know: the use, scope, purpose and management of analytics varies greatly between organisations with no clear 'correct' strategy to achieve success. I'm not even sure that the organisations could agree on what success would look like.
I'm not sure how (given the myriad of strategies identified) but the university has used this research to revise its curriculum to better support data-oriented decision-making. Maybe their motto is 'prepare for everything'.
No matter. At least Villanova is trying. It would be nice to see more of our local universities working as closely with practitioners and designing courses that produce graduates with the skills to excel in analytics. I remember talk of IAPA working on something but I haven't heard anything in the last year.
So I thought I would do a little digging to see what educational opportunities are available locally. I was pleased to learn that the UTS now offers a range of data mining and BI courses that (I believe) are unique in Australia in terms of their number and variety:
- Data Mining Algorithms
- Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery
- Data Mining and Visualisation
- Advanced Data Mining Algorithms
- Analytics Project
- Business Intelligence
- Business Intelligence for Decision Support
- Business Intelligence Modelling and Analysis
I'm impressed but I have not yet employed a graduate from these courses. I look forward to that opportunity soon.
The only other 'hard-core' analytics courses that I know of are:
- ANU's College of Engineering and Computer Science course in Algorithms and Techniques for Data Mining run by Dr Peter Christen in 2009.
- UNSW, Faculty of Science, School of Mathematics and Statistics course in Data Mining and Its Business Applications run by Dr Inna Kolyshkina (a former IAPA Chair and currently a Lead Analyst at Westpac).
- Curtin University of Technology, School of Information Systems course in Data Mining and Advanced Database Management.
- University of Sydney course in Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining.
The Monash Data Mining Centre also runs courses for industry.For an Australian perspective on analytic education, a couple of years ago Dr Christen presented at AusDM 2007 on 'Evaluation of a Graduate Level Data Mining Course with Industry Participants'.