IBM Commits $100M to Nurture Big Data and Analytics Talent in China
ARMONK, N.Y. and BEIJING, China, July 8 — IBM today announced it has embarked on a major collaboration with China’s education ecosystem – as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding that IBM signed with the Ministry of Education in the first quarter – focused on addressing the burgeoning Big Data and Analytics (BD&A) skills opportunity in China.
Dubbed IBM U-100, IBM will donate a range of IBM BD&A software worth US$100 million and provide expertise to support 100 universities in China to create the next generation of data scientists at three levels: set up BD&A Technology Centers in 100 universities, launch undergraduate and graduate programs in 30 universities and create a Center of Excellence at five universities.
The effort aims to reach 40,000 students per year to gain expertise in Big Data and Analytics, a skill increasingly in demand by employers in China.
In tandem, IBM today announced an agreement with kaikeba.com, a prominent brand under Uniquedu Corporation, to set up an “IBM Zone of Big Data and Analytics.” Through this agreement, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) will be provided to help prepare the next-generation workforce with the skills and expertise needed to embrace big data as the next frontier for innovation for the coming decades.
“IBM is privileged to extend its collaboration with the Ministry of Education and universities in China,” said D.C. Chien, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), IBM Greater China Group. “Together we will be able to accelerate the nurturing of skills in Big Data and Analytics and help prepare future business leaders to apply BD&A technologies to tackle complex societal issues, from health care to transportation and public services.”
According to CCID Consulting, the big data technology and services market in China will continue to grow from US$2.3 billion in 2014 to US$8.7 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 99.7 percent. While many leading Chinese enterprises have already realized the value of big data for driving innovation and increasing competitiveness, there are not enough skilled professionals to deploy and maintain the infrastructure based on these new technologies, and more importantly, there are even fewer skilled “data scientists” with the necessary technical skills.
“Big data is big business, but its rapid growth has outpaced colleges’ and universities’ ability to develop and implement new curriculums,” said Li Shu Chong, President, CCID Consulting. “IBM’s extensive initiative is poised to help develop new talent in Chinathat will be needed to realize the full potential of big data.”
Bringing Big Data and Analytics into the Classroom
Under the IBM U-100 initiative, IBM will set up BD&A Technology Centers and provide technical training to professors and faculty, in areas ranging from information management, data mining, social media analytics and risk management. To accelerate program development, IBM will also provide hands-on training, case studies, access to a wide spectrum of IBM’s Big Data and Analytics software, IBM thought leaders as guest lecturers, as well as faculty awards.
IBM has been in collaboration with seven universities – Beijing Institute of Technology, Fudan University, Guizhou University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Peking University, South China University of Technology and Xi’an Jiaotong University, which are among the pilot schools that will roll out new BD&A programs in their education system in the coming academic year.
IBM plans to bring 40 new universities on board to this program by the end of this year. Later this month, the application guidelines will be issued to all qualified academic institutions. By the time the IBM U-100 initiative is rolled out to all 100 universities in mid-2015, 40,000 students per year will be able to gain expertise in BD&A.
As part of this program, IBM will also work with 30 universities to create new undergraduate and graduate degree programs for the in-demand Data Scientist and Chief Data Officer roles. With analytics having moved beyond computer science to become a required competency across many businesses and functions, IBM will help design the courses with a focus on applying analytics skills to solve challenges in five business disciplines, including finance, risk management and marketing. The courses, to be delivered by professors, IBM researchers and engineers as well as IBM Global Services consultants, are expected to validate 1,500 students’ proficiency in advanced Big Data and Analytics per year.
Bridging the Gap Between Technology and Business to Deliver High Client Value
Through the U-100 collaboration, IBM will also help five universities set up a BD&A Center of Excellence on each campus that will act as an “Open Collaboratory” for the universities to work with IBM Business Partners and clients. By offering a physical location for each of these constituents to come together on campus, clients will be able to apply advanced research and development capabilities to resolve their specific business issues. In addition to providing software to these Centers of Excellence, IBM also offers its consultancy support to participating universities for research collaboration.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has already joined this program with the launch of the Marketing Engineering Lab (MEL) in August last year. CUHK runs the lab for educational purposes and trains more than one hundred students to conduct data mining research for the retail industry. Companies are already reaping the benefits of this collaboration. For instance, around 70 students are now placed to work on data mining projects for four leading retailers and distributors in Hong Kong.
Accelerating the Development of a Big Data and Analytics Ecosystem through Online Education – Anywhere and Anytime
As part of IBM’s continuing commitment to the growth and development of the BD&A ecosystem, IBM will work with kaikeba.com to launch new online educational offerings with a focus on BD&A frontier technology and skills for IT professionals and students. These MOOCs will be updated so students are always able to learn cutting-edge technology with the perfect user experience that can properly prepare them for a job in an industry-specific area. All courses are available at no charge.
“We are excited about teaming with IBM to spearhead efforts to reform the BD&A industry in China,” said by Alec Fang, Founder and CEO of kaikeba.com. “Together we will help the industry address the pressing BD&A talent crunch by bringing not only high quality but also affordable BD&A education instantly to an unlimited number of students and industry professionals, who otherwise were not able to gain the skills because of high costs for enrollment, insufficient qualification, time constraints or immobility.”
IBM will help design the course content based on IBM BD&A software technologies as well as business insights and practical project management skills from IBM Global Business Services. In addition to IBM professionals, Uniquedu Corporation will draw on a large pool of experts from the industry and higher education, rather than relying on the knowledge of a small number of teachers.
“MOOCs can help the industry collectively fuel new BD&A skills development in a big way,” said Dr. Matt Wang, Vice President, IBM China Development Labs. “MOOCs are rapidly transforming from a relatively niche area to a more mainstream method of educating the masses, allowing not only full time students to gain new skills but also professionals to sharpen their expertise and apply it to their jobs immediately.”