Launched in August 2022, the A*STAR Analytics Centre of Excellence (COE) has a bold mission to bring together passionate employees and create a dynamic community that fosters collaboration, cross-learning, and impactful contributions to data analytics projects across A*STAR.
The Analytics COE is more than using data to support informed decision-making. The team also believes in igniting a fire within our data analytics talent in A*STAR by providing professional growth and development opportunities.
Find out how the members of the Analytics COE – Jackson Li, Chanel Ng and Ernest Lin - make a difference and push the boundaries of what is possible!
Q: What drives your passion for analytics?
Jackson: We make decisions daily, and each can have significant consequences that affect the lives of many others around us. Analytics improve this process by allowing us to understand trends and detect patterns from large amounts of data using computational tools that would otherwise require too much time for a human. To be able to help others make better decisions is an honour that drives my efforts.
Chanel: Analytics play a crucial role in the Finance sector, especially in today's data-driven world. There is a constant demand for analysing historical and real-time data, which requires us to extract valuable insights from large volumes of data. Thanks to analytics, the process of churning such information for management to make informed decisions and gain competitive advantage is simplified to a great extent.
Ernest: Analytics offers the advantage of making informed decisions based on data. The analytics field is continuously progressing, presenting a wide range of new tools and methods for us to explore constantly. As a Data Engineer, I provide the infrastructure necessary for businesses to collect, store, and process large amounts of data. And I am excited to be part of this process.
Q: In what ways has joining the Analytics COE benefitted you?
Chanel: Being part of the Analytics COE team has allowed me to cross paths and collaborate with like-minded people across A*STAR who are enthusiastic about making a difference with analytics! It is an exciting journey to learn about various members' experiences in applying analytics to improve the state of processes in A*STAR and the tools and platforms available to help other divisions resolve data problems encountered today.
Ernest: Joining the Analytics COE allows me to collaborate with stakeholders across A*STAR, ensuring that analytics works meet the organisational goals and add value to the organisation. It also allows me to exchange knowledge and improve my skillset by working on the projects and accessing resources shared among the COE members.
Q: What are some exciting analytics projects you are working on?
Jackson: We are collaborating across the organisation on diverse project requests for Business Intelligence dashboards with predictive, diagnostic, and descriptive use cases. These dashboards aim to enhance reporting efficiency and aid in identifying historical trends. Additionally, some dashboards can contribute to guiding human behavioural patterns. For instance, one of our projects focuses on automating bill registration and tracking. We hope to provide real-time energy and water consumption pattern updates through this automation process, which in turn will help to encourage sustainable practices supporting Singapore's Green Plan 2030.
Chanel: We are often presented with multiple projects focusing on tailored reports designed for diverse stakeholders. While focusing on these specific projects, our larger objective is establishing standardised and efficient reporting practices. By centralising data within a single data warehouse, we aim to streamline the extraction of information for all future requirements.
Q: What is your advice to someone who aspires to embark on Analytics?
Jackson: Begin with a small question and dataset that intrigues you. Take time to learn the available tools to obtain your desired answer. In this era of generative AI, resources are abundant and accessible. You can succeed in most projects without a full computer science degree. With practice, you'll enhance your skills and knowledge. Sharing your hurdles within the community, such as our COE, accelerates problem-solving.
Chanel: Mould and develop your interest in analytics through e-learning! There are many online platforms out there that provide free resources for self-learning, such as DataCamp and edX. Once you grasp the basics well, start practising your skillsets by working on real-world data problems to build on your portfolio.
Ernest: Start developing soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These skills are crucial for success in analytics. You need to communicate and explain complex data insights to non-technical stakeholders, collaborate with colleagues, and use creative thinking to solve complicated problems.
A*STAR's Finance division
Chanel works in our Finance Transformation team and is involved in Business Process Reviews to identify process workflow gaps. Her role in the Analytics COE complements her work by providing solutions to ease pain points. As a data analyst, she draws on previous experience in the Management Reporting team to better understand the project requirements required for financial reporting. With the Analytics COE, she hopes to learn more about analytics beyond data extraction and visualisation so she can share and apply the techniques with her colleagues at work.
A*STAR's Digital Transformation, Innovation and Data division
Ernest is part of the Data Management & Analytics team in A*STAR's Digital Transformation, Innovation and Data division. His primary responsibility as a data engineer is to create a dependable data platform capable of processing and storing data from various sources for reporting and analytics purposes. As part of the Analytics COE, he collaborates with other team members to ensure that the platform meets project data needs while maintaining high quality, security, and governance standards. This effort enables effective decision-making by data scientists and business analysts.
A*STAR's Digital Transformation, Innovation and Data division
Jackson completed his PhD at the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), where his passion for data analytics grew. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he volunteered as a dataflow lead at the Stronghold Diagnostics Lab (SDL), a collaboration between A*STAR, the National University Health System (NUHS), and Temasek Foundation, focused on large-scale COVID-19 testing. In this role, he ensured the accuracy and timeliness of swab testing results, contributing to the nation's healthcare efforts. This firsthand experience has deeply emphasised the crucial role of data in driving business processes and making optimal decisions. Now, as a Data Scientist, he provides data science services within the Digital Transformation, Innovation and Data division, optimising A*STAR's systems and processes.