Business Analytics Translational Centre Launch 2012

Multinational Corporations (MNCs)





Publisher Wiley, logistics giant DHL and Singapore business analytics firm Revolution Analytics are first to tap on the market-ready technologies of the new Business Analytics Translational Centre.

From analysing traffic patterns for better delivery routes to predicting what topics academics would require in the future, the latest business analytics efforts in Singapore are set to create big breakthroughs in the way business is done.

These possible uses of business analytics were some of the examples cited by 200-year-old publishing company Wiley and well-known logistics firm DHL at the opening of the Business Analytics Translational Centre here in September.

The centre, part of the Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R), aims to accelerate the takeup of business analytics technologies among companies as well as government agencies. It will also serve as a focal point to widen knowledge in the field to more researchers, engineers, IT managers and academia.

Business analytics are becoming key as organisations worldwide, as they start to make sense of Big Data, essentially troves of information collected from, say, customers, users and employees, to gain an edge over rivals. In March this year, the United States government set aside US$200 million in research programmes for Big Data.

One of the first partners for Singapore’s new centre is Wiley. The 200-year-old publisher of academic literature and industry papers is looking for a way to better predict what its customers might want to look up in future, and to understand how better to cater to them.

Mr. Mike Fenton, Vice-President and Executive Director of Wiley Singapore, said partnering with BATC will enable it to better predict future trends. The company, he added, would have to know how to better package information and research data to its customers in future, as it transitions from selling printed literature.

Meanwhile, DHL hopes to better predict traffic patterns in cities such as Singapore, to plan its routes better for urban logistics.

Mr. Oscar de Bok, Chief Executive Officer for DHL Supply Chain in South and Southeast Asia, said business analytics these days can be linked up to different systems and databases to give a more accurate picture of a situation to decision makers.

He said the work at the centre in Singapore could well be exported as a solution to other parts of the world, where DHL would also require the intelligence in traffic patterns.

With these partners in place, the centre hopes to get the ball rolling in several more projects in the coming months. Working with government agencies such as the Infocomm Development Authority and Ministry of Law, it hopes to have crucial data analysed in a way that benefits the public sector.

For example, in the insurance and healthcare industries, there is a need for the authorised agencies to access information such as patient records, but often only with a glimpse of an overview report instead of minute details.

Key to business analytics is privacy, said Mr. Laurence Liew, General Manager of Revolution Analytics for Asia Pacific, BATC’s third partner unveiled last week.

His company is keen to having business analytics run on the cloud, basing its business on an open source standard for the technology. To that end, Revolutions Analytics has set up a lab at BATC.

BATC Director, Dr. Ng See Kiong, said this was one example of how companies can work with the centre to have their business analytics technologies tested in a “living lab”. This was much better than trying to predict how things would run on paper, he added.

And there are a wide variety of partners already keen to work with BATC. Quizzed by reporters last week on future partnerships, I²R Executive Director, Dr. Tan Geok Leng, said many sectors will benefit, including logistics, financial and telecoms, for example.

Business analytics is like a new literacy, he stressed. “The ability to work with data is very important, it’s like being computer literate in the past.”

For more information about the Business Analytics Translational Centre, please visit their website.