Professors Struggling to Teach BI

Business intelligence is one of the hottest areas of enterprise IT, but college professors say they're struggling to train the next generation of BI-savvy workers.

Professors can't afford the latest BI technology and lack access to realistic data sets, according to a survey of 85 institutions by Barbara Wixom, an associate professor at the University of Virginia.

Mike Goul, a professor at Arizona State University, said it's difficult to find "real-life" data sets, culled from actual company data instead of textbooks, so that "students don't play with toy problems, and so they understand that things are messy."

In addition, the study said that "students are ill-prepared for the rigorous statistical analysis required. They shy away from the tough preparatory courses needed to make sense of query results."

The survey was sponsored by data warehouse vendor Teradata Corp., which has a free Web portal for BI education.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It's an edited version of an article that first appeared on

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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