Future data analytics capital of the world? ANALITIKA in the Philippines
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The Philippine Daily Inquirer has recently published a column by Ernie O. Cecilia on the future of data analytics in the Philippines.
Based on interviews with Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, President and Country General Manager of IBM Philippines, and Rob High, IBM Fellow and Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson Solutions, Cecilia wrote about their keen interest and prospects about cognitive computing and analytics.
Cecilia writes a consortium is about to be formed to push forward the analytics profession and industry, and he couldn't be more right. It is called ANALITIKA
Discussing smarter analytics, Cecilia writes about the importance of data analysis in an information-centric and data-driven world. Analytics, he writes, started as an initiative; now it is an imperative. Its application today covers health care, public safety, disaster management, water conservation, marketing, retail and especially education.
Mariels gave Cecilia a short description of the budding concept of analytics in the Philippines.
“In 2012, IBM shared the vision of making the Philippines the Global Center for Smarter Analytics. We had discussions with government, academe and industry leaders. It was reaffirmed that the country has the right ingredients to be the global hub for analytics – the right economics, a strong industry support, a steady supply of quality talent, and government support.”
“My personal vision is for IBM Global to look at IBM Philippines beyond what we are just today. We were in the past a very strategic country for IBM Global insofar as providing services. We now have thousands of Filipinos in IBM Philippines managing the process and IT of some large global companies. But, the question is ‘what’s next?’” Mariels asked.
Mariels continued, “I came back to the Philippines and when I saw what we have invested in IBM Philippines and what we were doing here, I thought that truly we can make the Philippines the global center for analytics. My coming here was a win-win. I am a Filipino, but my education, experience and reach are global. With the help of a very senior IBM executive, I was able to get the blessing within the first year to pursue that end.”
In order to narrow the skills gap when it comes to data processing and analytics, Mariels utilized the help of IBM Global.
IBM Global sends out teams of corporate executives to do projects in many parts of the world. They call it Corporate Service Corps, a CSR program. The Philippines has been blessed with 12 teams over the past several years. Mariels said, “We helped come up with the syllabus, curriculum, materials, and even helped train the faculty. We had over a hundred professors and instructors from 37 universities now trained to teach Analytics as an elective for IT and Business courses. We are in the process of developing the job roles (e.g., Data Scientist, Chief Data Officer, or Chief Analytics Officer) and skills sets that other professions have.”
The more challenging piece of the puzzle is promoting analytics and creating awareness up to the lowest element of the Philippine society.
Mariels was emphatic when she said, “Analytics is no longer a privilege. It is becoming a minimum requirement, whether you are in business, government, education or other endeavors. There is now an emerging compelling reason for organizations to embrace the coming age of analytics. Analytics will make a difference in education and jobs. Students with skills in analytics will become sought after…”
Mariels looks at challenges as opportunities. She says with optimism, “This initiative has to go on with or without me, or even after me. It’s a new way of doing business, and it’s exciting because we’re the first … to define job roles and skills sets in ANALITIKA. When you have a mission to do something, you have to ensure that you make it better than when you first found it.”