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Taking India towards "Data-Driven Entrepreneurship" – The Focus Areas and Opportunities Data Sciences represents a big opportunity for entrepreneurs to create data-driven models to solve major pain-points.

By Rahul R

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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As per entrepreneurs today who are constantly working at creating next-gen technology-driven solutions towards improving the condition of society and thereby solving a multitude of societal problems, the data sciences domain represents ample potential and opportunity to drive change. Now, as per an alarming trend, India is in need of as many as 45,000 data scientists at the moment.

"Not everyone has to become a data scientist, but we certainly believe that every professional who is engaged in customer and business driven innovation should become data science savvy," states Pinkesh Shah (CEO at the Institute of Product Leadership (IPL). )

IPL, which recently hosted the Data Sciences Summit 2018 in Bangalore, has been involved in skilling professionals to become data scientists; thereby leading to creation of newer entrepreneurial models. These models are mostly driven by technological aspects such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet-of-Things (IoT), BlockChain, Machine Learning (ML), and more.

Societal problems represent an opportunity for next-gen entrepreneurship

With today's scheme of things taking giant strides towards data sciences, data is the key factor on which newer models and solutions are based. Identification of the right problem is the key for implementing data-driven entrepreneurship.

"The entrepreneurial potential in data sciences is immense, around 15% of graduates from IPL have gone on to found startups," states Shah. He reiterates that only having the intent to create a venture, without sufficient skill-level backing, would not suffice if solutions to problems are to be developed.

Experts believe that the sectors which could reap maximum benefits from data-driven models include healthcare, agriculture, and also as diverse as smart cities creation.

"Data-driven models in healthcare would take aspects such as diagnostics to the next level," states Pinkesh Shah to Entrepreneur India.

"Investors, while investing in healthcare-driven models tend to look at the depth in the technology. In such a scenario, strong academic collaborations are the need of the hour to ensure that the science is in the right direction," adds Shah.

Ability of entrepreneurs to put together strong advisory boards, within their ventures, is the key as this would lead to proper validation of ventures by healthcare professionals.

Therefore, the need for adaption of data sciences in the healthcare sector is reiterated was far as entrepreneurs looking at starting ventures in this domain are concerned.

In this regard, IPL is aiming at creating industry-ready talents by guiding them in vital aspects right from career planning, to selecting the right courses, and in placement assistance.

Another societal problem which has good potential to foster entrepreneurship in India is traffic management in metro cities.

"This is a key focus area as data generated is immense. A typical scenario here includes the placement of sensors not only on the traffic signals, but also at the level of the roads so as to monitor the vehicle density at any given point of time. With this sensor data, the traffic signals can be dynamically controlled through the IoT," advises Sameer Dhanrajani, Chief Strategy Officer at Fractal Analytics.

Dhanrajani also offered an illustration of Jaipur where the state government has tied-up with technologists to make a corridor in the city smart.

Apart from the above sectors, both Pinkesh and Sameer believe that agriculture could also derive maximum impact from smartness introduced through data-driven models. They believe that with AI, issues such as determining the right market price for crops and the right harvest based on weather conditions can be mitigated.

The data sciences research scenario in India – From an entrepreneurial point of view

Undoubtedly, research is a key element for entrepreneurship. But are our markets mature enough to offer the right research opportunities to drive creation of data-driven models considering the fact that India of late has been playing the role of a service-provider to other nations?

"At this juncture, it is worth understanding that China has been producing at least 25,000 whitepapers annually. In streak contrast, India produces just 2400 PhD's every year. The incentive for research scholars is also comparatively lesser in India. If research is incentivised, the potential for solving complex problems would be higher, by entrepreneurs," states Dhanrajani.

"Nonetheless, the future prospects for research in India from an entrepreneurial point of view are at an all time high," adds Shah.

As stated above, identifying the problem itself opens up an opportunity for research; believe both Shah and Dhanrajani.

"In sectors such as motor insurance, there have been attempts by companies to use analytics to analyse driver behaviour before premiums are calculated. Now, this is an opportunity worth emulating in India," informs Dhanrajani.

Mitigating issues in data science – For the benefit of entrepreneurs

With cultivation of the right data science skill sets being the criteria, the IPL recently launched an Android application called the Data Science Aptitude Assessment which is aimed at organizations to determine which amongst their current employees have a more evolved aptitude for data science.

This application also provides an overall score, along with individual scores in five aptitude areas viz Quantitative Aptitude, Statistical Aptitude, Analytical and Critical Thinking, Curiosity and Exploration Inventory and, Data Science Awareness.

With this application, the wannabe entrepreneurs looking at starting ventures to develop data-driven solutions can evaluate their aptitudes and skillsets. The acute shortage of data scientists in India could also be potentially mitigated through proper aptitude analysis.

Rahul R

Former Staff

Rahul R is a media professional with over 6 years of experience. Prior to Entrepreneur India, Rahul was a Senior Technical Journalist at EFY digital magazine. 
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