SAS, a leader in business analytics software and services, forged a strategic partnership with four of Singapore’s Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) to increase the skills, resources and competencies in Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics (BA) in Singapore.

These collaborations allow SAS to enable the IHLs, by providing the necessary know-how, technologies and skills to align with what the industries need. The first phase of this collaboration includes Singapore Management University, National University of Singapore Business School, Nanyang Polytechnic, and Republic Polytechnic.

The signing ceremony took place at Business Analytics 2011, a two-day SAS forum event where business users, experts and industry leaders met to exchange business analytics knowledge and experience on May 26, 2011.

“Today’s MOU signing reinforces our commitment to work with government, industry stakeholders and IHLs to develop a sustainable business analytics eco-system. We aim to solidify Singapore’s position in this region as a hub for advanced analytics capabilities with a strong supporting knowledge work force. To do this, we need to build stronger collaboration between the three parties. This win-win partnership is a significant milestone for the Business Analytics community in Singapore as we look to deepen competencies in Business Analytics and inject the industry with a continuous pool of talent,” said Bill Lee, Managing Director of SAS Singapore.

Business Analytics has been selected as one of the key focus areas by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) which will strengthen the development of information and communication technology skills that are critical to Singapore’s long-term economic growth.

The MOU signing between SAS and the IHLs is a crucial step in advancing this agenda by providing students, faculty and staff with training, scholarships, SAS’s BI and BA solutions and internship opportunities. This complements SAS’s certification program aimed at countering the shortage of skilled advanced analysts in Singapore.

“Analytics is emerging as an important competitive differentiator for business in today’s ICT-enabled world. Having the appropriate structure and relevant skills are critical ingredients for success for any enterprise that chooses to embrace analytics. IDA is pleased to announce that we have added the job roles and competency areas for business analytics under the National Infocomm Competency Framework (NICF), in consultation with our industry partners. We applaud SAS for being the first to establish an extensive training collaboration with the IHLs. This arrangement is a complement to IDA’s new four-year manpower development road-map, MDEV 2.0, which aims to develop Singapore’s local infocomm workforce for high-end, high value-add jobs to meet the evolving industry needs”, said Mr. Andrew Khaw, Senior Director, Industry Development Group of the IDA.

Among the cutting edge developments arising from the collaboration between SAS and SMU is a SAS Advanced Analytics Lab (SAAL) for students and faculty of the university. The facility will offer students and faculty hands-on experience with SAS solutions and access to SAS experts. The collaboration also makes provisions for facilitating student training, scholarships, and internships, as well as for continuing education and training for industry professionals. The new SAS Advanced Analytics Lab builds on the success of the SAS Enterprise Intelligence Laboratory at SMU which was set up in 2008.

“The new SAS Advanced Analytics Lab at SMU will enable us to accelerate and expand our efforts to get students working with Business Analytics applications in the context of real-world business scenarios and data sets. Students enrolled in SMU degree programmes, as well as working professionals who will enrol in our Continuing Education and Training Programs, will benefit from the way SMU and SAS work together to create highly interactive learning labs and living cases,” said Steven Miller, Dean of SMU’s School of Information Systems. “Our approach to education is especially innovative and relevant in that it combines real-world business scenarios, real data, and hands-on usage of analytics applications. We teach our students about the enabling technology and IT systems that make this all work, and about the end-to-end enterprise processes and architecture required to implement and sustain business analytics in company settings”.

Bill Lee, Managing Director Singapore & Regional Accounts, SAS Institute, will give more insights into his company’s journey and commitment to educate the industry in the next issue of Asian e-Marketing.