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16 April 2013
Industry heavy weights Deloitte, Ernst & Young, IBM, SAS and Microsoft, will head into the classroom to teach students how to help their employers grapple with "big data" as part of Deakin University's new Master of Business Analytics.
The new course was officially launched at Deakin University’s City Centre on April 16 and is now taking enrolments ready for its first intake in time for Deakin’s second semester in July.
“Analytics has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2008 when Thomas Davenport put out the book ‘Competing with Analytics’ that momentum started to build exponentially,” explained Deakin University’s Head of the School of Information Systems Professor Dineli Mather.
“It made businesses think of information as a business asset and the role of analytics in a different way and posed the question ‘how can data be used at an organisational level to get ahead of competitors?
“Data Analysts were brought out from the back room and over the past five years analytics has been gaining a more strategic position.
“Along with this has come what we now refer to as ‘big data’ because the technological advances of recent years now allow us to collect and store masses and masses of data.”
IBM estimates that the world creates an estimated 2.5m quintillion bytes of data each day and 90% data available has been created in just the last 2 years.
“Analysing the data isn’t the be all and end all of Analytics," she said.
“The more important question for business is why is the data being collected, what are you going to do with it now you have it and how are you going to use the insights to improve operational and strategic performance.
“The answer to that question is that data collection and analytics has to be integrated into the business and aligned to the organisation’s strategic aims, and that is what makes the Deakin course different to others that are around.”
Professor Mather said the Deakin course looked at the whole value chain of business analytics.
“It starts with the information and how that is collected, and looks at how that links to business processes, we look at data analytics including text analytics and social media and then how you use the insights you have got from your data to add value to the business,” she said.
“If you are not doing that you have wasted all that time.
“That is the hardest part of it to actually put a business case for somebody in your organisation to fund an analytics project to say this will ultimately add value and provide a return on investment.”
Professor Mather said there was a constant demand on business organisations to do things better for less.
“Business analytics is a way of identifying how you can fine tune things, but you have to have a business case behind it,” she said.
Professor Mather said in line with the business focus of the course, the course’s industry partners had worked alongside the university’s academics to develop the program.
“There is a real practical focus to the program and our industry partners have been directly involved,” she said.
“We’ve got partners, directors from the top consulting firms actually teaching into the program,” she said.
“All of our units have a practice element, either through a case study presented by industry, or the industry partner delivers a module for two to three weeks, or they run a role play into a the case study.
“So our capstone project subject, will be run by industry they will role play into a real case study and the students will compete to come up with the best solution as judged by the company involved.”
Professor Mather said the course was specifically designed with working students in mind – it was coursework based - with lectures organised around a three week schedule with reading weeks interspaced between the modules. The course is available in on and off-campus modes.
“Lectures can be attended via a mix of blended learning, including the use of webinars,” she said.
Deakin Media Relations
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Deakin University's Head of the School of Information Systems, Professor Dineli Mather
Deakin University's Head of the School of Information Systems, Professor Dineli Mather talks about the rationale for the course and its distinctive features