In pioneering effort, top Philippine universities to offer business analytics

Marking a milestone in the Philippine IT education system, an initial batch of universities in the country is set to offer business analytics as “specialization tracks” in two programs – Information Technology Education (ITE) and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) – beginning school year 2013-14.
The groundbreaking initiative was announced by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and tech giant IBM Philippines on Friday, May 31, at a formal launch event in Pasig City.

CHED has already issued the memorandum orders (MO) needed for the adoption of business analytics as elective subjects for third-year college students.

Given the expected demand for professionals skilled in business analytics, IBM Philippines R&D executive Delfin Jay Sabido said they are anticipating the specialization tracks to become full-blown subjects and eventually college course in the next few years.

The specialization tracks were co-developed in collaboration with IBM, taking into consideration the paradigm shift and growing demands of the local and international business landscapes, and are geared towards helping transform the Philippines to become more globally competitive across all industries.

The specialization tracks use an integrated approach and take into consideration the interrelationships among functional areas of business as well as sensitivity to the economic, social, technological, legal and international environment in which business must operate.

The growing demand for leaders to make better and faster business decisions makes business analytics and optimization a huge global market opportunity, estimated at about $160 billion by 2015.

According to research firm Gartner, demand for Big Data – information coming from structured and unstructured data such as social media — will reach 4.4 million jobs globally by 2015, but only one-third of those jobs will be filled due to a lack of trained skilled professionals globally.

“Recognizing the impending global talent shortage, CHED and IBM, in collaboration with other key higher education stakeholders, sought to address this challenge that we face as a country. These newly approved specialization tracks on business analytics for ITE and BSBA Programs bring us a step closer to preparing our nation to capture and lead in this big global analytics market opportunity,” said Patricia Licuanan, chairperson of CHED.

Licuanan said several higher education institutions have already signed up and have committed to implement the analytics electives this coming school year.

Some of the early adaptors have expressed interest and commitment to roll out the new analytics subjects this school year 2013-14 include the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Asia Pacific College, University of Santo Tomas, College of St. Benilde, Universidad de Manila, Jose Rizal University, Technological Institute of the Philippines, Batangas State University, Republic Central Colleges and Araullo University of the PHINMA Education Network.

“With the right academic development and professional training, the Philippines has the potential to be a leading incubator for advanced business analytics talent globally,” said Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, president and country general manager of IBM Philippines.

Almeda Winhoffer said IBM Philippines has committed to hire – with the required vetting process — some of the first graduates who will take up the specialization tracks. IBM, incidentally, is currently building a global analytics center in the Philippines.

CHED and IBM forged an agreement in December 2012 to develop an analytics education master plan that will enable and position higher education institutions in the country for leadership in analytics.

IBM, in collaboration with CHED, consulted with the business community, tapped institutions that are Centers of Development (CoDs), and Centers of Excellence (CoEs) to develop specialization tracks focusing on business analytics.

IBM and CHED’s master plan for the analytics market took shape in September 2012 when an international team of IBM volunteers worked with the agency under the IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program.

At the end of the month-long assignment, the team provided recommendations to CHED, identifying ways to position the Philippines as an analytics education and technology hub for the region.

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