Looking out for Big Data Capital of the World
There have been numerous reports to identify which place provides the best ecosystem for supporting new technology. For laggards it is important to know the leaders. Study of an ecosystem where technology is thriving sheds light on multiple mini centers of excellence or best practices working in unison to together provide an ecosystem beneficial to a technology. Big data is no different. There should be a lookout for the best center of excellence that exist in the terms of government/socio-political ecosystems that is making big-data flourish. Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently published a report, which sheds some light on some of the notable leaders in big-data space.
Using some of the charts from the report to build the whole story:
Table 11 should come as no surprise as Massachusetts is always known for its top brass educational standards and therefore it enjoys the top seat in this table of Graduates per 100k population.
Table 12 sheds some light on titles in Linkedin. Yes, one could argue that just as data science is convoluted, so are the titles for the practitioners of this craft. Data scientist in today’s world are hidden behind many obscure titles. But yes, if the world is sane and few title exists, we know there is one City leading the herd in gettting their titles right and hiring the data science talent to do their job.
Figure 1 is important to understand socio-political reasons behind retaining an ecosystem for thriving technology and its associated talent. SFO has retained most of its graduate which certainly helps create most inclusive ecosystem with deep-rooted cultural bonds. Yes, you could argue that influx is not seen in this chart but still, retaining internal talent is as important as attracting external talent.
Table 16 suggests investment trend as seen by US states. California and Massachusetts stand close in terms of attracting outside strategic investments. This is a good sign showing the importance of these two states in the eyes of investors.
So, few things that stand out besides which states are successful in securing their place as a favorable ecosystem for retaining Big Data technologies and talent are:
- Retaining a talent is as important as attracting a talent.
- Having a strong educational ecosystem to introduce the latest capabilities is crucial to quench demand-supply gap.
- Ecosystem should attract outside investments as much as retain local investments.
- Government intervention is important to maintain a thriving ecosystem that sets the stage for thriving ecosystem.
So, surely Massachusetts appears as a strong functioning block for developing analytics talent in its elite educational institutes and attracting foreign investors at par with Valley. So, Massachusetts has the potential to become the Big Data Capital of the World.
Before we get into what is needed, we should try to understand what it takes to create a thriving ecosystem. Common sense suggests: Create talent, retain talent and attract talent as 3 top priorities for building a booming economy. So, we need to fix these 3 things for people and local businesses to make an economy that embraces Big Data.
So what is needed? Here are somethings that could help solve the issue:
1. Create strong educational/training infrastructure: Luckily Massachusetts is blessed with it and it is pioneering as world’s education capital.
2. Grooming and retaining local talent: Churn kills economy, so every step is needed to stop churn. Whether it means creating favorable tax policies, for retaining companies or creating an ecosystem where demand always seeds supply for the local talent. Increasing demand and facilitating effective demand-supply interactions could do this. For starter, an effective way for companies to find talent and at the same time an optimal framework for talent to find the work is important. Hint: More Job fairs. Every step is crucial which helps local talent stay busy and occupied. Just playing with simple math of keeping demand more than supply will keep the local talent hitched and making search and discovery effective will reduce the churn. Meetups, educational institute and workshops will go a long way in grooming the local talent.
3. Attracting talent: It is a no brainer that besides keeping the local produce intact, influx of foreign/outside talent is also important for the thriving ecosystem. A diverse mix is what makes a rich culture of great talent to keep the innovation rolling. So, policies that facilitate effective immigration should be embraced and supported. Yes, immigration is a big talent flight issue for United States, let alone Massachusetts. But, Massachusetts has always been on support side for fixing the immigration laws to attract more talent. Certainly, more needs to be done to promote favorable policies and immigration laws to attract talent.
4. Increase engagement: Having busy and occupied talent won’t cut it forever. Keeping them updated on the latest trends and supporting professional and personal development is a key to retaining the talent. So, engaged communities talking and discussing is super critical for decreasing churn. Massachusetts is blessed with a great number of meetup groups; among several of them one is ours: Big Data Analytics Discovery & Visualization (~1000 members) for keeping the community engaged and talking. Recently in Mar 2014, at Boston’s AnalyticsWeek unconference emerged a new campaign to bring large Boston based corporations, small startups and professionals and students to start attending the discussions on big data and analytics. This is done via a platform, which is build around business problems and less around technical limitations. More of such engagement driven events will play a super critical role in keeping the community thriving and kicking. The role of HackReduce in also super important in this ecosystem and more such incubation hubs should emerge to act as innovation centers to quench the need for local innovation knowledge sharing hubs.
5. Ecosystem expansion: We all know the top names using the power and capability of big data analytics to get ahead in their business. What about the rest? What about other use cases, which are not tied directly with big data problems but could leverage the data analytics innovation. AnalyticsWeek like initiatives that expand the ecosystem to areas, which are not tightly related to Big Data ecosystem are important. This will help increase the demand for big data talent and capabilities which will in return increases demand for more big data analytics talent and hence thriving economy.
6. Political/Government intrusion: One of the key components in driving innovation is government and political changes. Government has tendency to induce more demand by embracing these technologies themselves, investing in the ecosystem via more exposure to federal grants. Government will play a vital role in stimulating the economy by producing favorable laws to retain businesses and introducing work and investments in the ecosystem to help local businesses embrace these capabilities and contribute to the growing economy.
So, overall this #BostonStrong Massachusetts is positioning right for winning the Big Data Capital of the world title soon. All it requires is swift focus, dedication and commitment. And the very fact the MassTech has invested in Big Data endorses the states’s commitment in keeping it ahead in this battle to win the best state to pursue innovation in Big Data. So all pick your tools, we all will get there, and we are all getting there.
You could download the report from: http://massbigdata.org/2014-report/4/