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Opening address by Director Ana Paula Serra at the Workshop on Data Visualization

Good afternoon and welcome.

I would like to thank all of you for participating in this conference.

I also thank the organizers and all the speakers.

It is my pleasure to be here today at the Opening of this workshop. 

This allows me to say a few words on the importance of this initiative and how it fits well with the overall strategy of the Banco de Portugal.

As you all know, like any other central bank, the Banco de Portugal is a data-driven organization. As such, data management and data skills training have been among the strategic objectives of the Bank for a few years now. This is the case with regard to the strategic plan 2017-2020, now coming to an end, and it will also be the case for the next strategic plan.

Let me mention two very relevant strategic initiatives in this regard: the integrated data management project and the School of Data Science.

These two projects are very closely related. Indeed, as we progressed with the new data architecture of the Bank, of which the data warehouse is a key pillar, we concluded that this could not work on the basis of traditional IT support and would only be effective if we assured that our people had the proper skills to support it. 

To achieve this transformation from request-based to autonomous data exploration and management, we needed to empower our people with new knowledge and skills.

The challenge, of course, was how to develop a data science school in a short period of time and with contained resources. 

We put together a multidisciplinary team to think it over. We gathered people from the HR, IT, Statistics and Economics departments to think it over. We finally came up with an innovative, flexible framework that we think is capable of addressing our needs, of building the skills to master the data tools, the techniques and the methods required to leverage our work.

We started in July with a group of 112 participants and later in October we expanded the cohort to 83 more. 

Since we started, we totaled 4,600 training hours and 272 courses. 

Courses cover topic areas such as data literacy, data science, computer science, IT. The most popular courses are SQL for data science, Python and R programming and data visualization. 

So far, not only the participation but also the feedback is extremely positive.

I was happy to learn that the workshop today was jointly organized by BPLIM and the Banco do Portugal’s “Academia”, which is our training and learning academy that hosts among the School of Data Science other things.

As mentioned, Data Visualization courses are among the most sought after. They have been supported by Power BI in a live training format provided by the IT department. 

Over the next two days we will learn more about the fundamentals and challenges of data visualization. This is very important for us given that we all know the relevance of effective communication. 

Running in parallel with the workshop, we will also have a training course on data visualization for the participants of the School of Data Science. I thank in advance Edith Maulandi for this.

Let me also thank again all the speakers: Alberto Cairo, Yan Holtz, Chiari Sofis, Christophe Hurter and Christophe Bontemps. 

Special thanks go to Christophe Bontemps, who has shared his precious advice on how to best structure this workshop and identify high-quality speakers.

Let me finish by wishing you a fruitful workshop.