Analytics Market – The Indian scene

It was the year 2013. I got a mail that contained a report of the survey undertaken by Mckinsey.  The report said “According to the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2018, the United States alone will lack about 140,000 to 190,000 workers with deep analytical skills and another 1.5 million managers and analysts who can utilize large data sets to make better decisions”.

In India, the analytics market was expected to double between 2013 and 2018, reaching a figure of US$ 2.3 billion by 2018, according to a report published by Nasscom and Blueocean Market Intelligence. There will be a shortage of about 200,000 data scientists in India over the next few years, according to sources in the Analytics Special Interest Group set up by NASSCOM. Hence, creation of trained industry-ready business analytics professionals is the need of the day”.

I found this invigorating and eagerly wanted to pursue a course in Analytics. Coincidentally, I got a mail from Headhonchos.com containing the courses recommended for me. It had a course on analytics offered by Indian school of business(ISB) Hyderabad.

It was the usual roster of written test followed by three essays and a telephonic interview before I got the offer letter from ISB Hyderabad. This was my pathway to ISB, one of the prestigious schools of India.

It was accurately designed to cater to the needs to the emerging market in analytics. It contained elements from marketing, operations, finance, banking, risk and social media. One of the features of the course was the set of softwares that was offered, the best from the the industry. Some subjects were a deviation from the convention, like data visualization. For someone like me who was accustomed to graphs, it was hard to assimilate the fact that “pie charts were junk”.

Overall, it was an exacting course. ISB has a beautiful campus and describing it would need another post. The professors were world-class.  It was an eclectic class containing people mostly from all sectors. Healthcare, consulting, IT, marketing , advertising, insurance and mining. I was privileged to be a part of founding batch.

The course ended in September 2014 with a formal completion ceremony. Mr.Amit Khanna of KPMG, one of the game changers for the Indian analytics scenario was the guest of honour.

Towards the third term of the course, I had this realization that the area of my specialty, operations, would not be of great value to the current Indian analytics industry. Not because I did not do well in the course but simply because the market was not ready.

This is not a sweeping statement, I have a set of proofs to justify my claim. I am an operations professional who works on the middle and bottom line for companies. Top line is revenues, middle is cost and profits are bottom line in the current context. My job entails analyzing the company operations, evaluating the impact of poor operational practice on cost and profitability. Further to this, there is either advisory, implementation or execution.

Advise the client on best practices or implement solutions to improve operations and run the company for a defined period to demonstrate the power of the solution.

The analytics market in India is currently a top line driven market for some sectors and some are unprepared for analytics. This means, companies either are burning cash to capture the market, mind-share or not ready to join the race. Lets look at e-commerce and manufacturing. We have flipkart, amazon, snapdeal and bunch of other boutique start-ups. Amazon is yet to give a dollar profit to its investors. So is flipkart, snapdeal and others.

There are stories abound on the malpractices these companies do in the name of market place. Anyways, lets on get into that. To cut to chase, none of these companies are currently focusing on improving their operations but are focusing only on increasing the market share.

Manufacturing companies have a different set of challenge. The challenge arises from data itself. Indian manufacturing companies, for some reason, are not data rich. If you think that an SAP or an oracle suite takes the company closer to data richness, its wrong. Poor implementation of the suite has created a void that needs to be filled by manual data collection efforts. Day-to-day operational demands provides very little latitude for the managers to focus on data. However, the scene is slowly improving but it’s still a long way to go.

I am not sure how long it would take for the e-commerce companies to realize the importance of operational efficiency and manufacturing companies to realize the importance of data. Sooner this happens, better it is!

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