IBM and Ohio State University have launched an analytics center idea that is projected to create 500 new jobs and become an education and training hub for advanced data research, big data and cognitive computing.
“The center will fully design, build and run end-to-end analytics around IBM solutions,” said R.R. “Ron” Lovell, vice president of IBM’s Client Center for Advanced Analytics in Ohio. It will demonstrate a tight linkage between the IBM software group and research teams including smarter commerce from IBM’s Sterling Commerce group and Watson-based analytics.
Although it will start in the Fisher College of Business, IBM and OSU are developing curricula for engineering and arts and sciences. Lovell expects the program will provide undergraduate, masters and Ph.D. programs and co-op and internship opportunities. Lovell, who is from Columbus, said he was surprised to learn that the city has more students graduating within a 200-mile radius than any other city in the country except Boston. Of course, other major educational centers — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco — are on major bodies of water, a geographical constraint on student population.
IBM’s corporate customers are growing more interested in big data, said Lovell, but not many of them have the staff to develop, consume and measure large quantities of data.
“We want to help companies move into that upper right quadrant,” he added, drawing on the famous Gartner charting system.
Four years ago, the term “big data” didn’t exist, and anything to do with data and analytics was most likely a CIO challenge,” Christine A. Poon, dean, of the Fisher College of Business wrote in her blog commenting on the announcement. “Today, CEOs must think of big data as infiltrating every aspect of their organizations.
“The shortage of professionals trained in data analysis and critical thinking is occurring at a pivotal moment. While leaders in all industries have the data at their fingertips, they lack the highly skilled workforce to connect the dots and advance their businesses and organizations to new heights.”
IBM has worked with Ohio’s economic development organizations and met with more than 30 companies in health care, financial services, government and retail. The state is providing incentives for the center, although the exact program won’t be worked out until next month.
Graduates will range from data scientists to business consultants, business modelers and application developers skilled in analytics. Gartner recently estimated that 1.9 million jobs will be created in analytics over the next several years.
Graduates should be able to find ample opportunities close to home — Ohio is home to 27 Fortune 500, and 57 Fortune 1,000 companies, as well as a burgeoning technology sector and leading academic institutions, according to the IBM announcement. The IBM Client Center for Advanced Analytics will offer a strong foundation for a broad public and private sector collaboration that will include Ohio State, JobsOhio, Columbus 2020, ICC, an IBM Premier Partner, and other Columbus-based businesses.
“Data is a powerful natural resource that if used wisely can drive U.S. economic competitiveness and lead to rewarding careers in the future dedicated to building a smarter planet,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice resident of IBM’s Software Solutions Group. “This center will have a tremendous amount to offer: world-class educational institutions, a highly-educated workforce, industry-leading businesses and – perhaps most important of all – will serve as the foundation of a community of innovators that will transform industries around the world.”
To address the need for a more analytical-skilled workforce, Ohio State and IBM are collaborating on new business and technology curricula to help students and mid-career professionals gain the latest skills in analytics and prepare for high value jobs in the future.
“In order for business leaders to solve the societal challenges of the future, they must integrate critical thinking skills with expertise in their fields,” said E. Gordon Gee, president, The Ohio State University. “The ability to apply a wholly new level of analytical insights and solutions will bolster our nation’s role as a competitive global leader and be the catalyst for the next frontier of economic growth.”
The center will be connected to 200 IBM client centers globally, and IBM’s network of eight Analytics Solution Centers with expertise in financial risk management, rail and transportation and the specific needs of state, local and federal government organizations.