Editor’s note: e27 publishes relevant guest contributions from the community. Share your honest opinions and expert knowledge by submitting your content here. Big data is a big opportunity for businesses, and its only getting bigger in Asia Pacific (APAC). According to market intelligence firm IDC, the global big data and analytics market is expected to grow to USD$203 billion; organisations in Asia Pacific that invest in big data, meanwhile, will reap an extra USD$65 billion in productivity benefits over less data-driven peers by 2020. IDC also reports that with 53% of organisations in the region believing that big data is important for business, it is undeniable that businesses must rely on data as a decision-making factor to enhance competitiveness.
Big OpportunityThe growth of the big data and analytics market is driven by growth of the digital transformation (DX) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) market in the APAC region. According to Future Ready Singapore, the number of connected IoT devices in Asia is expected to increase to 8.6 billion by 2020, up from 3.1 billion in 2015. IoT devices, like fitness trackers, smart TVs and the smartphones we carry contain networks of sensors that track and collect data. This data can then be analysed to give actionable insights that both digital systems and decision-makers can act on to increase efficiencies or improve consumer experience. For example, advertising media collect data on customer surfing habits to better tailor advertisements offered to consumers.
New approaches to old problemsWith this deluge of data, and the vast array of insights that remains to be mined from it, it’s natural for companies to seek data scientists on the payroll. These specialists use a range of tools from statistics to artificial intelligence to extract, clean up, and interpret meaning from data to give actionable insights businesses can act on. However, given the current and predicted labour shortage in professional big data and analytics services, it is costly, especially for smaller companies, to hire data scientists. Also read: How to build an in-house data science team (without a data scientist)
Trends with benefitsInstead of hiring someone to interpret data, it now is possible to enlist the help of software to do the same thing, but with greater speed and precision. This can be achieved via tools that harmonise massive and diverse data sets, transforming them into a knowledge base of intelligent insights. Let’s call it smart or intelligent data. This approach is not simply an alternative, but a primary choice for many companies. Not only does it cut costs, it also lightens the burden on data scientists in having to extract, clean and transform data to make it usable. Data management and analytics software intuitively organise your data for ready use. Here are just some sectors where big data and analytics can and is being applied to:
- Banking and financial services – Gartner predicts that the banking and securities industries in APAC will spend USD$67.1 billion on IT in 2017, with a focus on advanced data and analytics tools. One of the largest applications of big data is in the financial industry to detect fraud. The sheer volume of transactions that financial institutions process daily is staggering, and of which only a small number might be fraudulent. Intelligent Data can help to surface discrepancies or anomalies in customer or employee behaviour that might indicate fraud, such as an excessive number of account access requests. It can also help to observe patterns and trends over time, and cross-reference various transactions to determine their authenticity.
- Education – Global spending on EdTech is expected to reach US$252 billion by 2020, with Asia set to experience the fastest growth in investment, according to EdTechXGlobal. Educational institutions are focused on delivering holistic education to their student body, and analytics is an enabler of that. Looking beyond academic results, analytics can help to harmonise other types of data such as extracurricular and social data to provide educators with a complete view on an individual student’s progress. This can then be used to tailor customised education plans and strategies aimed at helping students learn and perform better.
- Digital marketing – A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review revealed that purchases increased when consumers were presented with targeted advertising and improved digital experiences. The future of marketing lies in the intersection of technology, customer engagement, and data intelligence. Gartner revealed that CMOs spend almost as much on technology as CIOs, and will overtake them by the end of 2017. CMOs will be spending more on analytics platforms that can help them derive insights from the analysis of consumer behaviour on online stores, web searches or even interactions with past marketing campaigns. Enriching these insights with transactional and CRM data, in an intelligent knowledge base, can help marketers decide how to more effectively market their products, personalise marketing content and also product recommendations. Intelligent knowledge base driven approach allows marketing to finally achieve what has been called the holy grail of segmentation – a segment of one. Surely such targeted approach would improve the success of their efforts and in turn, translate into direct impact on P/L margins.