The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) projects that by 2018, the US alone would face a 50-60% gap between supply and demand of deep analytical talent – people with advanced training in statistics and machine learning – to perform Big Data Analytics. The gap is estimated at 140,000 to 190,000 analytics specialists and 1.5 million more data-literate managers. To capture the full economic potential of Big Data, MGI says that companies and policy makers need to address this talent gap. India, with its young demographic, entrepreneurial culture, and emerging services firms has yet again seized this opportunity and has decisively pulled ahead of its competition- China and Eastern Europe.
With over 1500 technical colleges, graduating over 500,000 graduates each year, India is an education superpower. While many of its graduates need further training to make them employable by global standards, India has successfully fostered a strong education culture that attracts its young people to aspire for higher living standards through knowledge focused services jobs..
Over half of India‘s population is below the age of 25, and more than 65% of its people are below the age of 35. It is expected that by 2020, about 136 million of Indian youngsters will join the global workforce. That‘s a lot of brain power, which puts India in good stead to take on Big Data. In this regard, India is unique in its demographic dividend, and China and Eastern Europe have the challenges of ageing population that limits the size of their workforce. By 2025, 25% of the world’s workers will be Indians.
It is in this context that one needs to view the future of Big Data. Analysing large data sets will increasingly become a source of competitive advantage. More and more businesses need help with the volume, variety and velocity of Big Data. The potentially unstructured nature of some of this data and the challenges with extracting business insights from it is proving beyond the reach of traditional enterprise tools and business practices.
India holds the lead among talent markets – big data analytics needs the optimal mix of business, data, and math skills, to be articulated, and visualized in a business friendly language. India’s success with the IT services business in the last 20 years, strong entrepreneurial culture, start-up ecosystem, billion-dollar enterprise role models and English language skills, has helped India take the lead over China and Eastern Europe in Big Data Analytics as well. Of particular significance is the English language advantage, and the business graduates India produces, as analytics needs the ability to translate math and data analysis to a story that appeals to a business audience. China’s technology talent has traditionally focused more on the local opportunity of servicing their emerging multinationals, and less on the global services markets.
According to a recent Avendus Capital report, the global data analytics services market stood at $500-550 million in 2010, of which Indian service providers delivered $375 million (more than 70%). India’s share is projected to grow to nearly $1.2 billion by 2015, keeping the country firmly in front. And the smart money is going where the talent and the entrepreneurs are. Of the more than $2 billion that leading PEs and VCs have invested into big data analytics firms in 2011, an estimated 25% has gone to firms that have an India angle to them—more than any other region worldwide.
Today, there are more than 10,000 analytics professional working across India, solving complex business problems and deploying analytics solutions for Fortune 500 firms. They are working not just for service providers, but for the captive needs of large US businesses such as Dell, Citigroup and GE. The rapid evolution of this sector is leading to the expansion of this talent pool by over 30-40% each year.
Good statisticians who have a blend of business acumen and analytic skills with technical aptitude don‘t come cheap, even in India.
India has the resources and experience to meet future demands, but needs to develop partnerships, particularly with well-established technology leaders and prominent universities. India’s leading Trade body for the services sector, NASSCOM, has highlighted the need for such partnerships in its recent report. Such partnerships have already introduced courses relating to statistics and data analytics. And an early example of how these partnerships will evolve is the tie-up between the top-tier Indian Institute of Management – Lucknow, which is teaming up with the US-based Kelley School of Business to provide courses focused on business analytics. This is crucial to producing graduates with the skills needed to fill the growing demand for data analysis.
The analytics industry in India continues to develop innovative solutions that cut across horizontal functions, such as marketing, sales, supply chain, risk management and are also customized to meet the needs of various industry verticals, ultimately, letting the work speak for itself. India provides companies more freedom to operate competitively and be successful. Demonstrating remarkable staying power, India has taken the lead and will continue to be the all- around standout.