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Technology  12, Feb 2014

Will business’ sexiest tool Big Data come into its own in 2014?

Big Data is a revolutionary tool. But how many cos have managed to crack it? Will biz walk the talk in 2014? Watch out for these trends

Much has been written and spoken about Big Data in the last few years. The aim of this article is not to tell you the business benefits of Big Data and how it can “help leverage real-time insights for better and informed decision-making”. The fact that Big Data is a game-changing technology is established and accepted. What we will talk about is the immediate need for companies to turn all the ‘gyaan’ on Big Data into actionable results; albeit, answer the question…Will 2014 see companies walking the talk on the coolest and sexiest tool that is Big Data?

To throw light on how Big Data has evolved and the trends we need to watch out for in the current year, Aureus Analytics, a Big Data and analytics firm, headquartered in Singapore, shared an exclusive infograph with e27.

‘Data is the new gold, and analytics is the means to mine it’, says Aureus.

Infograph Courtesy: Aureus Analytics

Decoding the trends

Speed, speed, speed
As it is all about location, location and location in real estate, it is about speed when it comes to Big Data. What good is a business insight, however accurate it may be, if it comes months later when it may not necessarily be relevant? According to IDG Research, Big Data projects take typically 18 months to complete, which is a long time considering nowadays we want results in real-time, if not as of yesterday (read client expectations). The focus this year, according to Aureus Analytics, will on ‘time to return investment’, i.e. how soon can data analytics deliver value.

One size does not fit all
No pseudo forcing products! Vendors, in 2014, will work with companies to understand their needs and customise Big Data tools to fulfill those exact needs. Organisations will look at analytics from outside-in and vendors will focus on anticipating requirements.

Welcome to the world of on-demand
With the ‘we want everything right now’ culture seeping into business, companies no longer will have to wait for a monthly report. Aureus says that analytics will be available on fingertips in the near future.

Where will Big Data be most utilised?
Ultimately it is all about the customer and the current year will see Big Data being used most effectively in enhancing customer experience. Other areas of focus will be risk management and optimising operations.

No more a small fish
Gone are the days when business analytics was the concern and need of only big organisations. Moving forward, small organisations will also build Big Data readiness into their systems. Aureus says that context will drive data strategy, and not size.

Point of decision
One of the biggest positive changes will be availability of mission-critical data at the point of decision. This essentially means that analytics will be embedded in operational processes, with the decision-maker armoured with tools that give him millions of insights per second. We will get closest to real-time information than we ever have.

Grooming analytics-specific talent
With Big Data tools being developed to answer specific business challenges, providers will work towards building talent with the apt skills. Focus will be on creating domain-specific experts.

All functions to take ownership
Big Data will not just be the responsibility or problem of CIOs. It will no longer be technology heads pushing analytics to other departments. This year will see many functions across a company such as marketing, sales, operations, etc. understand the criticality of Big Data and take ownership, along with driving usage.

To understand the current Big Data scenario, e27 asked technology experts to share their take. While one borrows Gartner’s terminology and calls Big Data an ‘ego booster’ during cocktail parties, the other says these tools act as acceleration catalyst for the monetisation of volumes of data. Read on to see what these leaders have to say…

Anwer Bagdadi, Founder and CEO, Kashif Technology and Innovation

Anwer Bagdadi, Founder and CEO, Kashif Technology and Innovation

Anwer Bagdadi, Founder and CEO, Kashif Technology and Innovation
Big data analytic discovery is still in the process of being invented. Names of leaders such as Datameer, Hadapt, Karmasphere and Platfora are not even known to many CIOs, CTOs across the industry. Just for information, these are competing visions of how data would be analysed in Hadoop.

If I have to list out some lists of big users of Big Data today, they would be Amazon, Wikipedia, Google, the US Government, weather bureaus and some major financial entities.

What is considered Big Data varies depending on the capabilities of the organisation managing the set, and on the capabilities of the applications that are traditionally used to process and analyse the data. For some organisations, facing hundreds of gigabytes of data for the first time may trigger a need to reconsider data management options. For others, it may take tens or hundreds of terabytes before data size becomes a significant consideration.

Big Data is a reality, but it would take time to percolate down to various organisations. The top five to 10 per cent of companies, with focus on cutting-edge technology, will have the first-mover advantage as they possess the knowledge to adopt and implement analytic tools. Rest would follow as the technology become mature, and more realistically broad-based.

We’re still in the very early days of the Big Data movement. For many users, the key issues include flexibility, speed and ease of use. And it isn’t clear that any single product or service can offer all of those capabilities at the moment.

To borrow Gartner’s terminology, Big Data is in a hype stage; it is a great discussion point and ‘ego booster’ during cocktail parties. The real use is limited. It is a great discussion point among CIOs. But is it a CIO’s tool? Technologically, yes. But it is best leveraged through somebody like a COO or CMO. A multi-disciplinary position would understand the impact of Big Data on various enterprise areas better.

There would be lot of dust raised using Big Data in 2014, but real success stories and adoption would come very slowly.

Anoop Mathur, President, Centre Of Recognition & Excellence

Anoop Mathur, President, Centre Of Recognition and Excellence

Anoop Mathur, President, Centre Of Recognition and Excellence
When new technologies like Big Data emerge, big things occur — opportunities arise and risks are confronted.

Big Data is no longer a curious phrase; companies have now started accepting the idea of moving to Big Data platform and redefining their business strategy based on data science. Big Data technologies act as the acceleration catalyst for the monetisation of volumes of data. We can easily say that Big Data is all about big profits for the companies who have learnt how to squeeze out billions of dollars out of data. Executives are in a pressure cooker condition all the time and their only chance to succeed is by mastering decisions based on the data deluge.

There are four slices of Big Data in use in the current scenario:

1. Known formatted structured data delivered to end-user using analytics at high volume is the first slice. Example: We experience Big Data use in retail and hospitality industries wherein pricing and lead generation campaigns are efficiently targeted with segmentation of customers.

2. Unknown unformatted data converted into structured data delivered to end-user using analytics at high volume. Example: Companies are digging out the social chatter on Facebook or Twitter networks and running marketing campaigns based on social data.

3. Unknown unformatted data delivered to end-user using analytics at high volume. Example: Financial institutions are using it for credit card fraud prevention, discount targeting based on the user’s mobile location data.

4. Creating data for analytics is the last slice, wherein creation of personalised data possibilities serve individuals. Example: Company websites using behavioral targeting will dynamically serve the landing page based on the browsing history in real-time.

I would say that Big Data is a big deal today to evaluate strategy, measure impact and engage stakeholders.

Big Data is definitely here to stay. However, we will have to wait and watch to see how players stand up to the challenge, how the industry shapes up, and most importantly, how user organisations mature to handle the revolution that is Big Data.

 

e27 Editorial Staff

e27 Editorial Staff

Keeping a pulse on Asia's emerging technology and business sectors, e27 brings users the latest news, analysis and events that impact Asia's tech industry.

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