Data literacy Help Businesses in India to Leverage Self-Service Analytics

In an exclusive conversation with Dataquest,  Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Qlik India, talks about the next wave of the analytics economy and opportunities for data literacy in India. Excerpts:

Q. According to you what is the next wave of the analytics economy in India?

The first wave of the analytics economy in India saw a massive data rush wherein businesses were acquiring large volumes of data and hoarding it in warehouses without any clear purpose. They weren’t able to explore the full potential of analytics and business intelligence tools either, making it a huge missed opportunity. Gartner validates this by saying that through 2018, 90% of deployed data lakes will be useless as they are overwhelmed with information assets captured for uncertain use cases.

The next wave of the analytics economy will be driven by the ability of businesses to quickly combine big data with small data to serve specific higher value use cases. And that will become easier to do as the focus shifts to data semantics and catalogs, and to standardizing data models more easily with external data sources. Qlik is leading the way in capturing this opportunity.

Further, underpinning the next wave of India’s analytics economy is a massive – and rapidly growing – demand for a data literate workforce and data-intensive industries such as BFSI, e-commerce, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing industries will be the first to be impacted. On the other hand, sectors such as transportation, education, sports, media and entertainment, and real estate have also started leveraging data analytics to drive their operations.

The Big Data and Analytics industry are moving towards an exciting new phase. International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that the global Big Data and Business Analytics revenues in 2017 exceeded $150 billion, marking a year-on-year growth of around 12.4%. It also projects the market to continue on its double-digit growth trajectory through to 2020, driving revenues of more than $210 billion.

Q. What is the area of opportunities for data literacy in India?

Being data literate can help businesses in India leverage self-service analytics to enable them to maximize their business opportunity. For instance, consider the example of an individual applying for an education loan. Basic information such as the customer’s age group and the loan purpose can help the business in identifying unique opportunities to cross-sell and upsell, in addition to ensuring more personalized service delivery. For example, if the applicant is looking to use the loan to fund their child’s higher education, the lender can suggest employment-linked loan options where only minimal interest needs to be paid till the student in question takes up a job. This can reduce the financial burden on prospective clients, while also reducing the chance of customers defaulting on their loans.

Data can help one understand customers and their requirements, both current and future, and help provide products and services that can fulfill them in the most accurate manner. Data-based insights can also be used to drive optimized business operations. This isn’t merely an assumption: Intel has reportedly already been saving $656 million annually through predictive analysis, while top global banks are using big data analysis to cut down their risk assessment and calculation times from several days to a few minutes.

The ability to make data-driven decisions is no longer just ‘good to have’ but an essential part of competing in a fragmented and ever-expanding marketplace. All organizations need to leverage big data analytics in order to grow and scale their business operations, irrespective of their size. This holds true even for ventures operating in the highly-competitive and disruptive start-up ecosystem. With limited resources available at their disposal, be it in terms of human or operational capital, start-ups need to ensure that every decision they take generates optimal dividends. By leveraging analytics to extract relevant insights from this data, start-ups can help in mitigating risk and increasing productivity for different functions such as product, sales, marketing, customer service, research & innovation, etc. This ensures that they not only stay ahead of their current competition but also continually grow and succeed to remain competitive against larger and more established industry players.

Q. Can you please throw some light on the workers willing to Invest More Time and Energy into Improving Their Data Skillset?

According to the Qlik Data Literacy Survey, only 29% of Indian employees believe that everyone in their organization is data literate, thus highlighting a massive opportunity for employers to address the skills gap. The benefits are tangible, data literate employees are better at their jobs, are more confident, and manage their job responsibilities more effectively. Employees already know it’s important to be proactive in increasing their level of data literacy and gaining the ability to work with analytic tools, so organizations need to support this in order to reap the benefits of having higher data literacy levels among their workforce.

HR managers in organizations can look to impart data skills training to employees so as to create a data-driven work culture, while the top leadership should emphasize on the significance of actively using data to support decision-making processes. It is also critical to raise data fluency, which is the ability to initiate and engage in data-driven conversations, as it allows business users to communicate their message more compellingly. Through internal group discussions, as well as external expert sessions, HR has a real opportunity to give employees a platform where they can put forth and find solutions to their data-centric issues.

Q. What is the state of data Literacy across APAC and what is the future ahead?

In July, we released a new report which delivered insights into data illiteracy and offers practical advice on how to empower all employees with the data, tools, and learning to achieve personal success. Some of the interesting findings include:

  • Data is the secret to career success: The majority (85%) of data literate business decision-makers say they are performing very well at work, compared with just over half (54%) of their peers. In addition, most who use data in their current job role not only agree that data helps them do their job better (94%), but that greater data literacy would give them more credibility (82%) in the workplace.
  • There is boundless enthusiasm to learn: Most business decision-makers (78%) would be willing to invest more time and energy into improving their data skillset, representing a significant opportunity to drive a cultural change without substantial resistance. Executives in India have the highest appetite to learn (95%), higher than the APAC average (72%) and, the Europe average (65%).
  • Levels of confidence vary across and within regions: Business decision-makers in India have the highest level of confidence (46%), followed by the US (33%), Spain (27%), UK (26%), Australia (22%), Germany (20%), Singapore (17%), France (16%), Sweden (15%), China (12%) and Japan (8%).
  • More data skeptics are needed to interrogate data from machines: Nearly half (48%) struggle to identify between data truths and manipulations, indicating an urgent need to upskill and support workers to succeed.

The massive amounts of data currently being generated will leave telecom players and businesses in general with little option but to adopt data analytics, to support their operations. This goes beyond just using analytics for reporting. With real-time insights needed to be drawn from large datasets residing in disparate data lakes and sources, data literacy and effective use of analytics will be pivotal in enabling insight-driven decisions.

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