We held our inaugural Data and Analytics Summit in Mexico City last month. Here’s what I learned about data and analytics from the Mexico perspective.
Data and analytics is hot. Data and Analytics once again tops the list of CIO priorities globally and also in Latin America. About 500 people attended this first-time summit, a record for any new Gartner summits in Mexico City. The culture is a little more last-minute, though. We really weren’t sure how many people would come, and on T-minus one-day, only a couple of my one-on-one advisory slots were taken. In most other venues, we are booked solid at least a month out. Within hours of the keynote finishing, I was backed to being fully booked.
Two years behind? One attendee declared that Mexico seems to be about two years behind the U.S. in adoption of newer data and analytic technologies and practices. It’s hard for me to say if that is true across the board, and we had delegates from all over Latin America. For sure, I spoke to many organizations still running only traditional BI. But others also had deployed modern analytics and BI platforms. For me, the worry is in how many (20%) have no plans to expand self-service to business authors as shown in this data point below. Also, according to the market share reports, Mexico is growing in double digits in modern Analytics and BI, but a little slower than the overall market.
Education is key: I spoke to a number of delegates who are focused on secondary education and ensuring Mexico has the right data and analytics skills. One study found that Mexico has three times the number of technical graduates per capita as the U.S. So why is there a skills’ gap? I also have to give a shout out to Tecnológico de Monterrey who is working to spark the interest of students at a younger age, with its Little Data Scientist Summer Camp. One of their challenges is that students may show up to camp hungry, so finding sponsors to provide meals to students has to be part of the program’s success.
Diversity: At all our summits this year, we have been speaking about the importance of people and data diversity as a way of boosting innovation and reducing risks of biases in algorithms. At first blush, I thought Mexico had figured out the gender diversity issue in the talent pipeline. According to OECD, roughly 38% of college students studying information technology in Mexico are female. Compare that to the U.S. which is now less than 20%. We can’t improve diversity in the workplace if we don’t address the talent pipeline. And yet, in Mexico, gender diversity does not lead to diversity in the workplace for cultural reasons. The civil sector seems to be doing better in supporting these cultural values while also fostering a diverse workforce. Read more about this in our keynote here and this note on diversity and innovation.
Guacamole and Margaritas. We make guacomole almost every week in our house. My son likes to load up on the coriander, while I prefer more cilantro and lemon. But there was something about the avocados in Mexico that tasted so much fresher. And then I wish I could have found one of these bowls made out of volcanic ash. The margaritas were the best ever. The pyramids at Teotihecan were simply amazing.
In case you missed it, here are some of our other recent notes:
How to Use Data for Good to Impact Society (public note, available to every one)
Stay tuned this week for updates to the Critical Capabilities on Qlik, Tableau, and SAP
Catch me at Brazil Symposium later this month!
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