Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently announced a new program to help businesses harness the power of data analysis, offering guidance for clients who want to tap into their information for better, faster decisions.

The new service, called HP Big Data Discovery Experience, allows companies to begin analysis programs that can help them find valuable insights about their operations, like how to gauge the success of marketing efforts or how to predict the level of demand for particular products.

HP touts its service as a low-risk way for companies to begin more sophisticated analysis. It offers consulting from HP’s data experts, as well as use of advanced technologies. By using HP’s service, companies can avoid making a big initial investment for skilled resources, software and hardware.

Businesses need HP’s expertise, the company said, in part because available data analyst talent is hard to come by. More than one out of every two business executives reported that their organizations don’t have the right solutions to gain insights from data analysis, HP said in the press release, citing a research study it commissioned in 2012. HP believes its analytics program can combat the lack of expertise in the analytics space by providing insights companies would otherwise miss.

HP isn’t the only organization talking about business intelligence (BI) as an area of extremely rapid growth. A Gartner research study found that the market for business intelligence software is projected to reach $17.1 billion by 2016. Dan Sommer, a principal research analyst at Gartner, said BI and analytics are now the fourth-largest application software segment.

As companies embrace Big Data jobs, IT departments should begin filling up with qualified professionals who have a background working with many types of data. Companies view Big Data as a competitive advantage, and with its accelerated growth, the focus might shift toward individuals with more complex skill sets.

Kurt Schlegel, research vice president at Gartner, said many midsize enterprises haven’t even begun on their business intelligence and analytic initiatives. With that in mind, the organization expects the market to continue its extremely rapid growth.

A study from last year by Accenture reported that among 600 companies surveyed, two-thirds had recently appointed a senior figure to lead data management and analytics. Nearly 70 percent said their entire senior management team was committed to increased analytics and fact-based decision-making.

Brian McCarthy, executive director of Accenture’s financial services analytics practice in North America, told the Financial Times that while demand increases, a major shortage remains. “Graduates with the right kinds of backgrounds for data scientist — computer science, statistics, machine learning — are coming out of the universities, but they are not coming out in sufficient numbers,” he tells the publication.


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