Analytical competence needed to drive innovation in Poland


Innovation is currently an extremely desirable feature for every country. However, a ranking published by the European Commission shows that Poland is struggling to create an environment that supports development. Development and innovation need people with competence in new technologies, such as analytics. Last year’s Modelling for Business conference showed that Polish students want to increase innovation, including through analytics. The science club at the Warsaw School of Economics and SAS jointly ran the conference.

The conference recognized that the level of innovation depends on both the state – including its support for scientific research – and enterprises. Businesses must invest in new technologies to drive market development. To increase efficiency and competitiveness, experts suggest the importance of cooperation between academia and business. A shared goal of cooperation is to interest students in analytics by showcasing practical applications.

Business and academia: 2 different worlds

One reason for the low degree of innovation is often insufficient cooperation between the academic and business sectors. Thomas Hellman of Oxford University suggested this is caused by a phenomenon that he called the “science to market gap." He pointed out that scientists rarely know how businesses can use research results. And entrepreneurs are unaware of how the work carried out in scientific centres can help them bring products or services to market.

One reason for the low degree of innovation is often insufficient cooperation between the academic and business sectors.

Cooperation between businesses and academia can help to bridge this gap. For example, SAS is working with the Warsaw School of Economics to deliver innovative study programs. These programs provide specialists with appropriate analytical, IT and business skills adapted to the changing needs of the digital economy. The Warsaw School of Economics is a main centre of education for analysts and managers.

The school focuses on enabling graduates to develop practical skills for later use at work. This is because business analytics is an important technology for increasing innovative potential. People in almost every industry are making key decisions by drawing on conclusions developed by analytical models using artificial intelligence.

Students invite businesses to talk about analytics

It is not only lecturers and university authorities who are taking action to develop students’ analytical skills. Students themselves have also invited businesses to discuss how data allows you to gain market advantage and solve problems. The current analytics environment is extremely diverse. It includes a rapidly growing open source community focused on analytical and artificial intelligence methods. And it uses many languages ​​and programming paradigms. Analytics platforms like SAS Viya address this need by providing an open analytical system to implement the full life cycle of models.

At November’s Modelling for Business conference, sessions discussed a range of issues and techniques applicable to analytics. For example, one session examined the differences between the use of classic and alternative analytical methods, such as SVM, Gradient Boosting and Random Forests. The speakers prepared the comparison using the largest data set in Polish banking, from PKO Bank Polski. And a presentation using an example from the FMCG industry discussed a tool for forecasting the resale volume of new products at Nestlé.

The conference was under the honorary patronage of the Rector of the Warsaw School of Economics, Professor Marek Rocki. The conference speakers included Warsaw School of Economics researchers and specialists from SAS. Business experts came from Bank BPH S.A., ING Bank Śląski, PKO Bank Polski, Bank Pekao S.A., Nestle Polska, NatWest Markets and PwC. The event culminated in an awards ceremony. Over 40 Warsaw School of Economics students received certificates for “Statistical Analyst With SAS System” and “Data Scientist With SAS System.”

Rewarding innovation leaders

There is currently much interest in analytics. However, students will only study a subject if they believe there is a well-paid job at the end. The good news, though, is that the Economic Fate of University Graduates study suggests that fields containing the words "data analysis" and "big data" guarantee the highest earnings. There is hope yet that Poland will be able to retain its brightest talents – and also that growing innovation may be on the horizon.


About Author

Ewa Hryciuk

Being employed with SAS Institute since 2008, I have extensive knowledge of the activity of SAS in Poland, in particular of business and sales. I have long-standing good relationships with my colleagues and continuous contact with the customers and, for the last couple of years, with SAS Poland Partners. I am currently involved in the academic sector in which I hope I will stay for the next few years. Working with the academic community is a challenge, but also a lot of satisfaction because it implements the strategic goal of our company "Secure the Future".

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