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How students in Saudi Arabia are using analytics to create industry solutions

Program Director, Marketing, IBM Analytics

Without question, the once elusive term big data is now part of both business and technology discussions from the water cooler to the boardroom. Organizations are recognizing real value by incorporating data and analytics into business processes from targeted customer marketing to fraud detection. Technology itself is also becoming more consumable than ever for business users through applications that enable them to make decisions based on data.

Big data is not just being put into the hands of business users; it is also making its way into universities—analytics courses are popping up in technology and business schools worldwide. And IBM has invested in academic initiatives to ensure the next wave of leaders can leverage data and analytics to change the way they do business.

Over the past 12 weeks, my colleague, Susan Malaika (@sumalaika), and I have had the opportunity to work with a group of women who are students at Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University (PNU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Along with staff from DCU, we developed a marketing case study based on IBM BigSheets that introduced students to the concepts of big data, cloud and Apache Hadoop. The women researched the big data market and client needs within specific industries such as retail, banking and healthcare and they developed creative solution offerings. The end result was an infographic poster that articulated how their proposed big data solution could help business users uncover new insights.

By taking the concepts of big data, cloud and Hadoop into the classroom, these students experienced what we at IBM think about and talk about with clients on a daily basis. Throughout the project we discussed analytics trends, cloud technology and marketing concepts. The students wanted to understand their chosen industry’s challenges and processes so they could develop a solution to best meet targeted needs.

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The posters were displayed the week of April 27, 2015 at the International Conference on Cloud Computing at PNU. I am also proud to share that the professors of the course and case study were nominated by their peers for the DCU President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
. This achievement is proof that bringing real-world concepts and experiences into the classroom is the best method for lifelong learning.

The women who I have had the pleasure to learn from through this case study project are truly inspiring, creative and they get it. They represent the next generation of analytics professionals who will change the way we all do business and make decisions.

IBM BigSheets is a feature of IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop. It takes big data stored in Hadoop and enables end users to visualize it in a spreadsheet-like tool.

Check out IBM’s complimentary big data solutions for education, and try them out.