Data analytics is not simply used by businesses to identify their target customers, create a business plan, or develop more effective social media campaigns. Even governments have ample use for them, which is only to be expected since they have such large collections of data, waiting to be interpreted and to reach concrete conclusions. The rapid expansion of smart sensors and mobile devices, the mushrooming of social media and other kinds of traffic on Internet, as well as the move to cloud-based storage have all made data analytics an even more relevant field than it was considered to be just a decade ago. Data analytics is an immensely promising field and can unlock many doors for your career!
Governments require data scientists to help out in several target areas. These areas include, but are not limited to:
1.The prevention of fraud
2.Safeguarding sensitive information and protecting against cyber-attacks
3.Improving defense systems to protect soldiers
4.Using predictive insights to make better financial decisions
Governments across the world have already made it clear that data analytics forms an indispensable part of the governing mechanism. The United States government, for instance, made this move as early as 2012, when it announced the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, costing around $200 million. The explicit intention behind this move was to issue a wake-up call for each agency, urging them to improve their analytic tools and techniques and have a unique big data strategy. Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) launched Big Data for Earth System Science to lend support to scientists researching environmental issues including climate change and earthquake recurrence.
The UK government too spent close to £6 million on data scientists in 2017, according to a report published by a think-tank. The report examined the recent employment of data scientists across major government departments, and it observed that the Department for Work and Pensions saw a nearly 400% rise in data scientists. France, following in a similar vein, also made a push towards artificial intelligence in 2018, with the aim of capitalizing on the data scientists it produces through its multiple mathematics and engineering schools.
India, not to be left behind in the data analytics race, has also taken a significant step towards utilizing data analytics effectively in their government. In 2017, 22 of 60 cities had initiated building smart roads and 18 cities had initiated integrated command and control projects using geospatial analysis. Additionally, 20 cities had initiated smart water projects, while 26 cities had started implementing solar rooftop projects. Economists also used the monthly data of unreserved railway passengers across five years to better understand the internal migration in the country, thus grasping labor flows throughout the country in a more comprehensive manner. The government has also used big data analytics to arrive at an accurate estimate of overall trade in the country. To do this, economists made use of Central sales tax invoices for trade between two states to understand the extent of trade between them. The government has also tasked The Department of Science and Technology (DST) to develop the Big Data Analytics (BDA) ecosystem to cultivate a healthy environment in which data is used responsibly towards ethical ends.
Moreover, the Indian government has also utilized the information available on individuals as well as corporate houses for tax assessments. Using data analytics, Tax authorities discovered more than 61 cases of evasion of GST — involving Rs 315.13 crore — since it was rolled out on July 1, 2017. Data analytics was brought into the picture because, in the first three months, the GST revenue collected was over Rs. 90,000 crores, which fell to about Rs. 84,000 crore in October, further dipping to around Rs. 81,000 in November 2017. December onwards, it remained close to the Rs 86,000 crore-mark.
Utilizing data analytics to their advantage, the Union Ministry of Finance discovered the reason behind this leakage in revenue. One of the reasons was a significant number of major data gaps between FORM GSTR-3B and FORM GSTR-1. The outcome of this data analysis showed that there was variance between the overall Integrated GST (IGST) and the Compensation cess which was paid by importers at customs ports as well as the total input tax credit claimed in GSTR-3B.
Thus, the relevance of data analytics is now felt across the world, in fields as diverse as tax fraud, geospatial analysis, as well as environmental issues, just to name a few. Capitalising on the power of data, you too can forge a path for yourself which takes you up on the economic ladder — the UK government, for instance, spent £6 million on data scientists in 2017. And that number is only going to rise. A report published in the UK suggested that 52% of organizations said they were understaffed when it came to business analytics or big data projects, and the situation is similar in other countries, including the US as well as India.
DON’T sit by idly as the world moves on towards big data and data analytics! There is a high chance that, once the digitization process in India is complete, your current job might be obsolete — think about the postman, and how e-mails effectively rendered him useless, nearly eradicating an entire profession. Now that you have read this article, why not use this opportunity to learn the mechanisms of data analytics and upskill yourself? You will not only get more interesting work opportunities, but you will also get a higher salary, without doubt! Data scientists are in demand now, so much so that Harvard Business Review even called it the “Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”!
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Author : Vivek Kumar
Vivek is the President of Consumer Revenue at UpGrad, an online education platform providing industry oriented programs in collaboration with world-class institutes, some of which are MICA, IIIT Bangalore, BITS and various industry leaders which include MakeMyTrip, Ola, Flipkart to name a few.
He has 19 years of experience in diversified industries like Consumer goods, Media, Technology Products and Education Services. He has been leading businesses & multi-cultural teams with a consistent record of market-beating performance and building brand leadership. His previous engagement has been with Manipal Global Education services as Sr General Manager, Education Services (Digital Transformation Strategy & Global Expansion).
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