Trend spotters take limelight
In the banking and finance sector, industry leaders have turned to BI processes to deliver information to managers, employees, customers and partners. This comes at a time when through acquisitions, internal growth and by delivering more products and services, these companies are operating in an environment more complex and diverse than at any other time.
Recent research by global market intelligence provider IDC forecasts significant global growth for business analytics, that are being adopted more swiftly in Asia-Pacific than in other regions. IDC expects the revenue of Hong Kong's business intelligence market this year to expand by 8 per cent from 2010 to HK$196 million.
According to Cecil Ko, general manager of the Hong Kong SAS Institute - a provider of certified business intelligence public training programmes - it has become difficult for traditional statistical tools to keep pace with data volume that doubles about every 18 months.
Ko says this has boosted demand for business analytics applications technology and analysts with the skills to transform data into meaningful information and offer predictive insights to make coherent business decisions.
"The ability to predict business trends with reasonable accuracy is becoming one of the crucial competitive advantages of today's fast-paced marketplace," he says.
Ko points to BI career opportunities for those equipped with statistical, marketing and programming knowledge, as these individuals generally find business analytics technology easier to learn and manage.
"Graduates majoring in computer science, engineering, mathematics or statistics are also ideal candidates. In addition, it is critical to understanding the relevant business operations and processes that an individual chooses to work in and the ability to identify what kinds of data is usable," he says.
Ko says by delivering insights from data obtained from customers, suppliers, operations and performance, business analytics help enterprises to improve and speed up their decision making, align resources with strategies and cut costs.
According to executive recruiter ConnectedGroup, the demand for management-level business analytics professionals is expected to continue growing at a steady pace. Qualified experts who move to a new company can expect a 10-20 per cent salary increase.
"As the business world becomes increasingly reliant on the ability to understand, analyse and target customers, more of our clients are turning to intelligence software to quickly and safely manage their information assets. The demand for business analytics specialists, such as SAS professionals, is growing at an exponential rate," Ko says.
Supporters of BI applications claim technology-based analytical tools help financial institutions better manage the risk associated with investments, credit and lending, and consumer trends. They can also improve the efficiency of core business processes such as call centre management, loan processing and electronic trading.