Globally, big data analytics has become one of the most coveted technologies across industries in recent years, especially for organisations as they shift to data-driven decision making. There is an ever-increasing amount of data being generated every second that has the potential to transform our corporate and social landscapes. By appropriately leveraging these data and using the insights it generates, local organisations can refine the process of product development, improve customer retention, or mine through the data to find new business opportunities. The government aims to emphasise the importance of ICTs in improving efficiency and productivity in all industries. Big data analytics can be useful while expanding e-government in all possible sectors, including health, agriculture, transportation, education and poverty reduction, to make public services more transparent.
Using data analytics, NID biometrics can be used to make a paradigm shift in digitisation of public services. For example, passengers can book tickets online and have NID authentication by integrating with the current railway reservation system; public information can be integrated with ATM security to stop ATM fraud; e-KYC can be done to integrate all financial services to an unique NID; authentication and authorisation model of E-healthcare, NID and electronic health record can be connected to modernise whole healthcare systems; performing rigorous background checks for drivers before being registered with a motor vehicle; and can also help technology companies working on video analytics law enforcement software gain mass data which will drastically improve road safety.
Besides, financial big data sets collected from mobile money services can provide deep insight into spending and saving habits across sectors and regions; also, digital payment histories can allow individuals to build credit histories, making them candidates for loans and other credit-based financial services.
Considering that banks spend on an average 8% of their overall budgets on marketing, tapping into big data sounds like a great opportunity to not only save, but generate additional revenue through highly targeted marketing strategies. Thirty percent of all work in banks can be automated through technology, and the key to this lies in big data. As a result of advanced automation, banks can experience significant cost savings and reduce the risk of failure by eliminating the human factor from some critical processes. Just like banks, all businesses can use big data to get to know their users and, as a result, find new ways to cater to them, connect in a more meaningful way, and deliver more value. Big data solutions allow companies to collect, make sense of and share branch as well as individual employee performance metrics across departments in real time. This means better visibility into the day-to-day operations and an elevated ability to proactively solve any issues.
The possibilities with data analytics are endless, and to support the development of emerging technologies, the government passed the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Act in 2010. Subsequently, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) was established for creation, management, operation and development of hi-tech parks across the country. Under the Support to Development of Kaliakair Hitech Park Project, 4,981 youths have already received ICT training. Furthermore, the BHTPA has trained around 6,500 youths in different areas of ICT. Of them, around 4,700 trainees have already got jobs under the employment incentive programme. Under the Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP), a total of 1.25 million youths will be trained by 2021.
It is undeniable that there is a lot of effort from the government to fill the skills gap, and a steady stream of data scientists and data analysts are being churned out from training programmes aided by the government and development partners. The large gap in the job market can be linked to the lack of colleges and institutions that properly prepare candidates to solve real-world problems. When eGeneration started building the data science team, we struggled to develop talent and business process to gain real value from analytics. We partnered with academic institutions and data analytics programmes to train our team, and today eGeneration is one of the few companies in Bangladesh to have a sizeable team of skilled data scientists. As data science will become mainstream and be increasingly adopted by companies in all industries across the country, challenges of acquiring and benefiting from the scarce talent pool will become more pertinent. These organisations will soon be relying on the expertise of data scientists to sustain, grow, and outdo their competition. As companies are diversifying their portfolio, and global IT giants are entering this market, there will be more need for data scientists and analytics-ready professionals in this field.
The big data revolution we have been witnessing in the last few years has changed the way we operate our businesses across all sectors. In Bangladesh, the amount of data generated annually has grown tremendously over the last decade due to increased internet penetration, as well as the ever-growing popularity of internet-enabled mobile devices. Data analytics combined with artificial intelligence applications is projected to generate USD 13 trillion by 2030, and this could determine the next world order, much like the role that oil production has played in creating economic superpowers. To get a share of this pie and cope with the rapidly growing demand for cloud-based solutions and predictive analytics capabilities, big data should be at the centre of the government's digitisation strategies to ensure smooth adoption of the technology by government agencies and industries.
Shameem Ahsan, Chairman of eGeneration Limited and the past President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS)