IBM is working with a group of universities around the world, including in Scotland, to deliver advanced business analytics training as demand increases for the skill.
According to an IBM Institute for Business Value and MIT Sloan Management Review study of nearly 3,000 executives worldwide, the biggest challenge is a lack of understanding in how to use analytics to gain insights that can improve business outcomes.
Now, in response to market demand, universities are incorporating analytics curricula and courseware into a variety of degree programmes to educate college students in the growing data analytics field, with the help of IBM.
At the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) several new courses have been introduced at its School of Computing curriculum, including data mining, business intelligence and knowledge management. Plans to expand the analytics course offerings to non-IT and non-finance students are underway.
"Beyond teaching business and IT skills, we are preparing students for future job opportunities with new analytics courses," said professor Malcolm Crowe, University of the West of Scotland.
"UWS is adding new courses in direct response to the recommendations of regional employers. They have specifically advised us that important computing skills such as business analytics are in demand and will help graduates secure jobs."
Business and social challenges taken on by the university and its students using IBM technology include predicting customer buying trends to improve retail sales, helping brand managers gather vital feedback on the success of marketing campaigns, and building efficient healthcare systems.
Meanwhile, at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland's largest university, students are using IBM analytics software in a variety of application areas to allow them to more easily collect data.
Some of the university analytics projects have been driven by Big Blue's Watson supercomputing technology.