Business Analytics is the new gold rush. Not only is IT expenditure on analytics increasing at exponential rates through the years, there is a shortage of skilled practitioners and a robust demand for professionals. The demand for business analytics is growing faster than the principal software vendors in this domain ability to churn out product releases.
As per a report by Gartner, the leading global IT advisory firm at , Business Intelligence and Business analytics grew overall by as much as 16.4% to reach 12.2 billion USD in 2011. With almost a quarter of the market share, SAP remained the market leader and grew almost by 20% , faster than the overall BI and analytics market did.
2012 looks to be an even more interesting year for analytics. While SAP has clearly bet it’s future growth on its in-memory appliance HANA, Oracle seems no longer content to be the favorite database company and is making rapid strides in analytics. Coincidentally, both these leading companies have invested in the open source statistical language called R, with SAP making an R package called RHANA to work with R and HANA and Oracle intent on introducing its own version of R called Oracle R Enterprise.
The leader in reporting solutions had been SAP Business Objects and IBM’s Cognos, while in databases Oracle‘s own database and it’s MySQL have been leading. In pure play analytics SAS Institute has been the leader, while IBM’s acquisition of SPSS and other analytics companies give it an increasing share in this.
Overall, analytics is converging to solutions on demand for customers, as computing moves from desktop and servers to cloud computing, and data explosion leads to the paradigm of terabytes of data being available for analytical consumption in what is known as Big Data.
The introduction of NoSQL databases has further increased the speed of accessing heterogeneous and unstructured data. Overall as data sizes are increasing and becoming more and more unstructured, the decreasing costs in computing hardware and the availability of on-demand cloud computing has led to balancing of the costs of analysis of Big Data.
The boom in business analytics has important ramifications for career prospects for students. The increasing shortage in recruits for data scientist positions means that students who take up statistics, programming and business courses have an edge over students who do not. The increase in jobs is primarily in skills like machine learning, statistics, languages like SAS and R, and platforms like Hadoop and Linux. A quick look at http://www.indeed.com will show the huge number of open positions for data scientists. Data scientists are to business analytics what rocket scientists are to launching spacecraft. Since tools in business analytics are becoming increasingly affordable and computing is becoming a software rentable as a service, the biggest differentiator between analytics and marketers is the pedigree and quality of training of its analytics practitioners. Having analytics on your resume is also a great way to see job security over the medium range, given the huge boom in the market for business analytics.