Data analytics: knowledge building made easy for SMEs

13.04.2021

Big data, artificial intelligence, digital business models – these are just a few of the trend words that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also confronted with. While large companies are already using profitable smart data technologies effectively and benefiting from them in the long term, SMEs often cite a lack of knowledge, excessive costs or a lack of application examples as reasons for the currently still low acceptance of data analytics.

Continuing education offerings can prevent companies from losing touch in the age of digitization and losing their competitiveness. The goal of such offerings is to close internal knowledge gaps and build up know-how. Unfortunately, far too often there are no tailored programs for SMEs that explicitly address the needs of these companies. This is where the project “Data Literacy and Data Science for SMEs: Further Training and Qualification” comes in.

The project in detail

With the project, nine universities from Baden-Württemberg and SICOS BW GmbH, led by the University of Ulm, have been strengthening the skills of small and medium-sized enterprises in the collection and analysis of massive amounts of data since July 2019.

The qualification and advanced training courses offered by the project partners teach the important fundamentals of mathematics, computer science, and necessary business skills for data-driven decision-making. In addition, they also provide insights into possible solutions for current problems in data analysis and data evaluation. The offerings use concrete application examples to show that data analysis and its evaluation are of great benefit, especially for SMEs.

The training courses are developed with different target groups in companies in mind. They are aimed both at decision-makers who want to acquire fundamental knowledge in the field of data science and at users who analyze data using existing tools and methods. In addition, special learning formats are offered for experts who respond to problems with novel, data-based solution approaches.

The continuing education courses combine target group-oriented, theoretically sound knowledge transfer with a strong application focus. A staged qualification concept includes classroom and online elements in the form of lectures, workshops lasting one or more days, or entire study modules that conclude with certificates. As a special offer for SMEs, so-called data labs are being set up at various universities, where concrete case studies are tested.

Training activities and successes

After a successful project start and an extensive needs analysis, the first qualification offers of the project partners started at the end of 2019. Due to the Corona pandemic, a rapid changeover of the offerings had to take place at the beginning of 2020 – since then, all offerings have taken place online. Nevertheless, the project has already implemented around 40 lectures, workshops, modules and data labs with over 550 participants.

Our participants are also satisfied with the courses offered:

“The Management of Digital Platforms workshop provided me with important knowledge in such a way that I now not only have more knowledge, but can also use it to advise SMEs in our Digital Hub. The combination of teaching the theoretical background paired with many practical examples and interactive exercises definitely helps to ensure that what was learned sticks well.” (Julia Mohrbacher)

Dimitri Jedik traveled all the way from Hanover and was thrilled: the first data literacy workshop at DHBW CAS was very comprehensively structured. “We touched on many topics and went into depth on so many,” reports the Nord LB employee, highly pleased.

“The HFU online workshop Machine Learning was a well-rounded experience for newcomers to this topic.  For decision makers as well as professionals who are looking for more insight into this topic, a real recommendation.” (Rainer Zwing, C.R.S. iiMotion GmbH)

Until the end of 2021, the qualification offers are supported by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration Baden-Württemberg with funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) as well as the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg and are therefore free of charge for our participants.

Interested? We will be happy to advise you on the selection of a suitable continuing education program.

Further information on the project and all current dates can be found at:

https://dataakademie.de/