Speech by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister's Office & Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, at The Official Opening of the Business Analytics Translational Centre of Singapore

 19 September 2012 - Speech by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister's Office & Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, at The Official Opening of the Business Analytics Translational Centre of Singapore, Wednesday, 19 September 2012, 1000hrs, Biopolis

Speech by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister's Office & Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, at The Official Opening of the Business Analytics Translational Centre of Singapore, Wednesday, 19 September 2012, 1000hrs, Biopolis

Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

Dr Beh Swan Gin, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Law (MINLAW)

Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Morning


1. I am happy to join all of you here this morning for the opening of the Business Analytics Translational Centre. Let me first congratulate A*STAR and IDA for coming together to establish this centre to translate expertise in analytics into real-world applications for the marketplace. This is in line with Singapore's efforts to translate our Research and Development into new products and services, and it is a step in the right direction to advance business analytics as a growth area in Singapore's Infocomm Technology sector.

Importance of Business Analytics in industry

2. Business analytics uses data to enable a company to gain insights about its operations. This in turn will enhance decision making, helps the company achieve greater efficiency, and also increase its revenue and market share. For example, researchers at A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) develop and use data management and mining systems to plough through billions of data points about the GPS positions of 15,000 taxis in Singapore. They then plot the trajectories of the taxis to determine the locations of taxi pick-ups and drop-offs during the morning peak hour period, and analyse the patterns of taxi demand and supply. This research may one day contribute towards developing a smart system that not only notifies taxi-drivers of the best places to pick up their passengers, but also enable us to monitor and manage traffic in real-time.

3. Another example of business analytics which many of us may not be as well aware of occurred during this year's National Day Parade. The parade organising committee engaged researchers in I2R to help provide an analysis of the performances. The researchers developed two technologies; the first was to gather and analyse the reactions of the public in the lead-up to the National Day Parade. The second was a technology to measure and monitor the crowd activity and noise during the parade rehearsals as well as at the actual parade. The data collected yielded useful insights which helped inform the parade committee's decisions on how to improve the parade programme.

4. In fact, the importance of business analytics is recognised by companies worldwide. In a 2011 Bloomberg survey of companies with revenues of more than US$100 million, 97 per cent of them were found to be using business analytics of one form or another. And business analytics looks set to grow ever bigger. IDC, a market research firm, projects that the global market for business analytics will exceed US$120 billion by 2015.

Business Analytics as a growth area in Singapore's innovation-driven economy

5. Against this backdrop, Singapore is in good stead to seize the opportunities in the market for business analytics. We have the expertise, the talent and the infrastructure for analytics. Our business friendly environment is another factor that prompts companies intending to grow in Asia to establish their operations here in Singapore.

6. We are also committed to an integrated approach when it comes to driving early adoption in sectors ready for data and analytics. A good example is the work done by IDA, which has been facilitating co-innovation platforms with global lead users, such as CitiBank's Citi Global Transaction Services Centre of Innovation, to develop innovative decision support services with local business analytics and user experience ICT companies.

7. Above all, we have top calibre R&D capabilities and talent in data mining and analytics in our research institutes and universities. In fact, A*STAR has an array of analytics technologies and has spun-off two analytics-based start-ups, namely Knorex and Xemantiq.

8. We have now established the Business Analytics Translational Centre (BATC) to provide a platform for public-private partnerships. BATC's partnership with Wiley Blackwell, an international publishing company, is a case in point. I understand that Mr. Mike Fenton of Wiley Singapore will be sharing with you later how the 200-year-old publishing business is using business analytics to gear itself up to meet contemporary needs and challenges.

9. In addition, BATC will translate and transfer data mining and analytics technologies to the industry. For example, Revolution Analytics, a leading analytics company, will be licensing BATC's technologies for its own analytics platform. Revolution Analytics will also be setting up its lab in BATC to tap the business analytics eco-system in Singapore.

10. Before long, we hope to create a complete eco-system for business analytics in different verticals such as banking and financial services, insurance, telecommunications, government, retail, energy and healthcare.

Gearing for Growth - Engaging Local Enterprises

11. A key objective of our R&D efforts is to ensure that we transfer technology to our enterprises, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This is to ensure that we enhance their technological capabilities, and through that, their competitiveness and productivity. BATC will focus on projects to gear up our SMEs. It will jointly organise business matching sessions with IDA to facilitate introductions and to forge partnerships between BATC and potential companies. IDA will also bring together companies and government agencies to leverage BATC's capabilities so that they can apply analytics strategically, to guide their business strategy and planning, as well as to optimise their day-to-day business operations.

12. I would strongly urge our SMEs to work closely with BATC and to take full advantage of this new capability that we have in our system. This will be key as part of our larger national economic effort to raise productivity and enhance the competitiveness of our businesses. Business analytics potentially can unlock new sources of economic opportunities and offer new perspectives on how our companies can develop an edge over their competitors through better business processes, early predictions, trend spotting and faster decision making.

Growing the Talent Pool in Business Analytics

13. In this exciting new area, it is also critical that we grow a talent pool that is capable of applying analytics approaches in various domains. And the Government is doing our part to support this. BATC will provide training opportunities for researchers and engineers, from academia as well as from the industry, by involving them in R&D or applications development projects. Our aim is to develop the local industry and manpower capabilities to serve the data and analytics needs of enterprises and users around the world.


14. Business analytics is a new and compelling growth area for Singapore. Opportunities abound in this space and Singapore is committed to growing our talent pool with a view to enabling our enterprises to become more productive, and to sharpen their competitive edge.

15. In closing, allow me once again to congratulate A*STAR and IDA on the opening of the BATC. I wish the Centre every success in its endeavours. Thank you.

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Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023