IMT Hyderabad recently hosted a panel discussion with five distinguished gentlemen a collective work experience of over 100 years from a variety of industries during the panel discussion on “Trends in business analytics” conducted on the 27th of July 2018 in the 500-seater auditorium of the institute. Jam-packed with enthusiastic students, the event was a grand success which not only enabled its participants to look at the domain of business analytics in a different way but also enlightened them about the plethora of analytical opportunities available to be put to use in this vast global economy.
Mr. N M Sharma is the founder and CEO of PHYGITAL Insights Pt. Ltd. With a corporate experience of over 30 years, he has scaled all the possible heights of business analytics in various sectors. He is also an experienced trainer of big data analysis.
Mr. Sharat Konatham is the Co-founder of HEDNext and has worked for over 15 different companies during his 14-year working period and has developed a special code using IBM proprietary software that can calculate the probability of “flight risk” from employees in a high attrition level workplace.
Mr. Ramesh Kumar Koona is the founder and CEO of Cygnesia Animations Pt. Ltd. He has run a 150 Million USD business and also has his own company situated in Hyderabad. He has a net work experience of over 26 years.
Mr. Sridhar Seshadri is the founder and CEO of Spotflock and has a collective corporate experience of 10 years. He also has an entrepreneurship experience of 3 years where he has designed an AI-based B2B and B2C product from scratch which has a viable application in the social networking and gaming domains.
Mr. Ravi Munukutla is an independent data analytics consultant with over 25 years’ worth of expertise in the data analytics vertical. He is a professional in handling very high-volume data analytics in several domains.
According to Mr. N M Sharma, analytics is a meticulous method of figuring out “what the given data is trying to communicate to you”. He argued that analytics is not “rocket science” and that many industries from all domains need analytics as a means of making sense of the large amount of data generated during their operations. He concluded by asking the students to not prepare for a “job” but a challenging yet satisfying career in analytics that starts with learning rudimentary analytics tools such as SAS, R, PYTHON etc. to learning how to make major and minor managerial decisions based on given data. He also utilised the power of humour in his presentation in order to make the audience comfortable with the analytics domain.
An interesting correlation of analytics to storytelling was made by Mr. Ramesh Kumar, who believes that the main purpose of analytics is for businesses to “monetize data”. He emphasized on the transient nature of analytical solutions and how these solutions evolved as time and technology. He also gave two real-life examples of analytics in action. The first example was of the airline industry where air-traffic controllers use the data from various sensors present on aircrafts in order to evaluate damages or other factors and check for inconsistencies in order to schedule the carrier for inspection or maintenance, all in real time. Airlines use a deadly combination of Big data analysis and IoT in order to achieve best results. His second example was of the music recording industry where analysts study the social media insights of pop culture icons in order to gauge their popularity level so as to predict “possible revenue assurance” in case the celebrities in the study were signed up for the label. He also strongly believes that no matter how big or small a company is, data will always be its strongest asset.
“Analytics is the “calculator” of a company’s operations”, said Mr. Sridhar Seshadri, emphasizing the importance of analytics in any vertical. He suggested students to gain a rich aptitude to the subject by starting off simple by watching easy explanations of analytics concepts as opposed to jumping in headlong by trying out complex data-crunching tools. He challenged the audience to change their current beliefs about their jobs because machine learning was going to replace all of them some day. He ended his presentation by asking students not to take “the easy route” in their learning journey and that the hardest route always had the most rewards. There is a “global peer pressure” in analytics as many companies try their best to use their data in the best possible way and Mr. Sridhar believes that despite the cut-throat competition, the possibilities of the domain are very exciting.
Did you know that less than 1 percent of the total data collected by a company is used to make decisions no matter their scale? This alarming fact was mentioned by Mr. Ravi M who believed that data analytics must be a part of the fabric of any business culture. Owing to the advancement of technology, the computational capability of current analytics tools is very, very high which emphasized the need to use ONLY the insights inferred from using large volumes of data. He gave us examples of how major companies innovate using data analytics; for example, Amazon makes 15 percent of its sales revenue from its “product recommendation algorithm system” and also Uber uses digital image processing in a creative way where its drivers can “punch in” their duty period by just taking a selfie.
Near the concluding moments of the session, Mr. Sharath K asked the students to think of Data analytics as an “enabler”, where people must ask two significant questions- first, “how data analytics is enabling a particular field? “and second, how can I enable myself to keep up with the pace?”. A majority of the audience was concerned about the scope of Data analytics as a career due to the fact that a large proportion of them were freshers. Mr. Sharath responded to them saying that they need to remove the mindset that they are “just freshers” and use the two years of their PGDM by freelancing analytics jobs. This way the students can graduate with “work experience”, something which companies value in a big way.
There was an interesting development before the end of the event. Mr N M Sharma asked the students to take an industry and identify the “KPIs” (Key Performance Indicators) of the industry and detect the barriers that the respective industry faces for providing value and reaping profits. He said that he will come back to the institute later and expects the students to present their cases to him. Will the students be able to impress Mr. Sharma? Only time will tell.