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In focus: Blue Yonder's new European Data Science Academy

Predictive analytics specialist Blue Yonder will launch its Data Science Academy early next year to provide a platform for organisations to train staff, knowledge share and get to grips with the complex topic of big data management.

The new education hub is designed to evolve as an interactive educational model alongside the big data industry, and more than 50 of Blue Yonder's data scientists will be involved in educating attendees as part of the programme.  

Dr Ulrich Kerzel, senior data scientist at Blue Yonder and a scientist with a career history at the University of Cambridge and CERN, will be appointed head of the training centre. The academy will offer seminars in English and German, the latter beginning in February with English seminars to follow in Cambridge from 9 April 2014.

Essential Retail caught up with Kerzel to find out more about the initiative.

Why are you opening the Data Science Academy?

"Data science, big data and predictive analytics are key to the success in a wide range of business applications. From the many discussions we have had with our customers it became apparent that there is a strong demand to learn how to analyse statistics and forecasts from big data in order to listen to and learn from what your customers are saying.

"The academy will enable data scientists and business leaders alike to discover how to transform their company into a more data driven organisation by optimising existing applications and opening up previously unseen potential from the data. The academy will create a place where experts and users can share knowledge and learn using the interactive training model."

How will the Data Science Academy benefit the retail industry?

"Using predictive analytics, daily challenges faced by retailers, such as optimising price and stock levels and logistics, can be made easier with the right solution in place.

"However, as the solutions become more and more complex it’s imperative that the person behind the machine has a good knowledge of machine learning, statistics and predictive analytics. What the academy will do is provide dedicated courses to bring managers, strategists and business users up to speed in these topics so they can unlock the potential of predictive analytics in their business."

How will the training be organised at the academy?

"Initially, we will offer one day seminars and a five-day deep dive into data science and what the effective analysis of it could mean for businesses. All courses will be held by leading data scientists and experts in their fields.

"Small groups of around ten participants will allow for intense discussions and hands-on sessions provide the opportunity to practice what has been covered in the courses."

How will the academy grow in the future?

"Throughout 2014 we will extend the academy course programme with further topics centred on data science. Our e-learning platform will be launched around summer next year to allow students to join our courses remotely.

"We're also working on starting a master-class in autumn 2014 which will be offered in conjunction with a higher education institute. Participants will be able to learn all aspects of predictive analytics and will be a certified data scientist at the end of the course. We are also proud to announce that Professor Maaß, who holds a Chair in Business Administration at the Saarland University (Germany) and Professor Seufert have joined Professor Feindt as scientific advisors of the academy."

How do you define big data?

"Our DNA at Blue Yonder is based on the research process created at CERN, Europe’s leading research facility. This process allows us to analyse petabytes of data in a real-time environment. With a few notable exceptions, data from the business world hasn’t quite arrived at this scale, yet.

"However, one of the main challenges we are often faced with is that data from the business world is quite unrelated and stored in many different systems across the various companies. For us, big data means bringing all of this information together and using predictive analytics to help our clients transform their company into a data-driven business."

Blue Yonder will be presenting in the RBTE Conference Programme with Michael Sinn, director supply and category management support at Otto Group.                        



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