The Background to Support the Center
In this section:
Technology and Big Data
Entrepreneurs and start-ups frequently enjoy advantages over the giants of industry as they utilize technology to create growth with little capital. This technology allows companies to capture data from a variety of sources.
Data of enormous size and complexity is created, aggregated, analyzed, and used for strategic purposes within companies and industries worldwide. Analyzing data allows companies to gain new and faster insight into their customers. However, the business world is only beginning to harness the power of big data and learning how to use analytics to gain actionable insights from it.
The creation of technology-enabled business models is accelerating the type and amount of information gathered every nanosecond. This gives businesses and government the ability in real time to “predict who will click, buy, lie, or die.”8 Large sources of data are expected to become an integral part of business intelligence9 and will become a key basis of competition, productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus.
Importance of Innovation
“Innovation is not a single event or activity; it is a process.15 In terms of business, innovation is the generation of fresh ideas, the ongoing development of products, services and processes, and their commercial application.” 16
Innovation is transforming how, what, when, and where consumers purchase; how individuals communicate; and how the nature of social space collaboration is changing. Businesses have never witnessed greater demands for organizations to innovate.
Studies have consistently reported that essentially all businesses want to be more innovative. Innovation has become a necessity for survival, long-term growth, and wealth creation as well as a major factor in strategic planning. “Even though organizational efficiency is essential for business success, efficiency alone cannot sustain business growth.”18
Creativity’s Link to Innovation
Creativity is the ability to imagine new, unusual, or unique ideas, to see connections between seemingly unrelated things. An individual or company is creative when looking at things in a new forward-thinking way. Innovation is the process that adds value by transforming those new ideas into commercial products, services, or processes. Therefore, creativity is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being innovative.
Information, imagination, creativity, and initiative are individually, and collectively, elements used in deriving an innovation. To gain success, a company must identify the wants, needs, and desires of customers. Companies differentiate themselves from competitors by innovating to satisfy these customer needs.
Innovation’s Link to Entrepreneurship
Big businesses capture many of the headlines, but small businesses are the engine that drive much of the economy. Big corporations are not as adaptable to change as small businesses. Therefore, innovation has greater influence in small businesses as it is essential to their development and success. Entrepreneurs are the typical drivers and innovators of small businesses and the economy.
Importance of Analytics
Data Analytics is helping enterprises to find new ways to leverage information to drive innovation and growth. Analytics and fact-based decision making are changing job functions within organizations more than any other technologies.
Analyzing past trends historically has given companies a plan for the future. In fact, many once believed that the best forecast of total sales for the next year would be the total sales during this year. In the past, data was stored in different systems and corporate silos that were unable to talk to each other.
Today, analytics are used in many fields, but analytics is not restricted solely to private sector, profit-seeking businesses. Governmental and nonprofit organizations can use business analytics to advance their objectives as well.45
Industries worldwide are experiencing rapid growth in unstructured and semi-structured data analytics.48 The meshing of business analytics with big data has given rise to more sophisticated industry applications resulting in improvements in unstructured data mining and processing capabilities.50
The reality is, the demand for individuals grounded in analytics, particularly in data mining and predictive analytics, with a solid foundation in a business discipline far exceeds the supply of graduates.
“It’s not like we could solve the problem if we had more computer scientists in data analytics. The fact of the matter is we need marketing people who know big data analytics. We need health care people who know big data analytics.” 60
Evidence of the Demand for Analytics Professionals
It is easy to see the demand for analytics-trained professionals within areas within or supported by the College of Business and Economics. In preparing this proposal, data were captured at 10:15 a.m. on Aug 1, 2015, for job postings in areas of importance to students with the COBE. Data were gathered for entry level (baccalaureate), associate level (MBA) and all levels for each area within analytics posted. The data are presented in Table 1.
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