For Arkansas to be a global leader in the transformation of existing industries through the application of data analytics and related computing capabilities [such as machine learning, predictive modeling, and applied data management and visualization] involving the integration of technical and business skills, advancement of talent pipelines and ongoing upgrades to relevant workforce skills.
Charge from the Governor
In forming this Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Commission to Report on the Economic Competitiveness of Computing and Data Analytics, my expectation is to set a guide for the State to respond to the needs of our business community and, in doing so, create career opportunities for our best and brightest young workers to remain in Arkansas and raise our overall state capabilities across industry, higher education and government to advance and apply the tools of data analytics and computing.
Arkansas is not new to the world of data analytics and computing. We have a history of both successful innovative companies and established industry leaders breaking new ground in the use of advanced computing and data analytics. But we know that the competition around the transformation of Big Data and its applications is stiff and the stakes are high for our state’s leading industries and future economic prosperity.
Arkansas can be a national leader in data analytics and computing. Our coding initiative is now nationally recognized for its accomplishments, with more than 5,500 high school students participating and a growing cadre of trained teachers certified to sustain the effort far into the future. This success now needs to be carried across industry, government and higher education.
For Arkansas to succeed we must work together to raise our capabilities and have a common game-plan with a clear vision, mission and strategic actions to be a national leader. It is this important task that the Blue-Ribbon Commission is being asked to address.
Critical for the success of Arkansas’ leading industries and companies being able to compete in data analytics and computing is our ability to sustain a public-private partnership able to accomplish strategic and focused near-term actions that address industry needs, while focusing longer-term on emerging needs and opportunities.
Over the next five years, the public-private partnership’s strategic priorities involve:
Addressing the challenge of recruiting top talent actively involved in data analytics and computing
Raising industry awareness and understanding
Developing, engaging and retaining homegrown top talent in data analytics and computing. The longer-term mission of the public-private partnership would be to advance the following broad objectives:
Advance a thriving ecosystem and high-value business environment in data analytics and computing in Arkansas focused on existing industries and business functions, such as supply chain management, consumer and retail services, energy, telecommunications, and health care
Create a critical mass of technology capabilities and workforce skills in data analytics and computing to drive economic growth in the state and to improve the quality and efficiency in delivering public services to Arkansans
Foster high-skilled, high-paying career pathways for Arkansans in data analytics and computing
Board of Directors
Charles Morgan, CEO, First Orion Corporation
Mike Preston, Secretary of Commerce, State of Arkansas
Clay Johnson, EVP, Enterprise Chief Information Officer, Walmart Stores, Inc.
Scott Spradley, EVP & Chief Technology Officer, Tyson Foods, Inc.
Warren Stephens, Chairman, President & CEO, Stephens Inc.