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Do you need Big Data and Analytics
I have not heard any customer asking us to supply ‘Big Data’ product or solution. Till few years back I have seen customers used to talk about their technology challenges and also tellto the suppliers the products and services they needed to address those challenges. It worked till the time business problem could be solved with given set of IT products. IT and business had an arms length relationship.
We all know that today, business and IT solutions go hand in hand. With the emergence of social media, cloud solutions, mobile access and IoT coming in picture we have a very complex landscape of technology solutions. Similarly customer’s business scenario has also changed rapidly. Customers not only have to keep ahead of competition but also have to innovate in their processes.
What customers are realising that there are multiple avenues to address same business issues. At times businesses are realising that they can get better insights into their customer behavior and (using these insights) create new offerings. These are general trends. Let us look at some specifics :
A telecom service provider realised that they could log the daily movement patterns of each subscriber and if they could map it with the locations (office, shopping mall, restaurants etc). Teleco could also add other dimension such as time of the day, calls made to and received from etc and develop very interesting insight into its subscriber’s behavior pattern. This can potentially lead to a very powerful olatform that advertisers would love to explore. Though this platform they can potentially offer targeted advertisements with higher success rate. This is possible because today we can capture, store and analyse this kind of data in real time on commodity hardware at an affordable price.
In another example a city wants to monitor air pollution in an area where construction activity is going on with many sites carrying out the activities simultaneously. By installing air pollution sensors on each lamp post and collecting the data in real time, city gets to know pollution level and can identify the site that is generating more pollution. Pollution then can be managed by asking that particular site to pause the work or by taking some measures to reduce it. Again this is possible due to IoT and ability to capture continuous data and analysing it in real time.
A large insurance company collects more than 50% of total premium through online payment. In the backend, the systems are complex and there is no centralised application for premium payment. The back end application is distributed across 14 locations. Customers get the acknowledgement receipt only after 2 days. In the process of making payment there are multiple hops between user, insurance company’s portal, payment gateway and insurance company’s distributed application. When we told the insurance company that we can help them identify the exact instance when the transaction did not go through by analysing the log, the company was delighted.
In none of these cases discussion did start with a particular technology – be it Hadoop, MongoDB, PostgreSQL or Pentaho. The discussion started with the business problem and then it emerged that a solution is possible using the components such as MongoDB, Hadoop, PostgreSQL, Pentahoetc – which is called as Big Data solution. However in each case the execution and success depend upon readiness of the organisation to embrace these technologies, bring about new skills in the team and approach the solution in an innovative way.
To leverage the ‘Big Data’ solution, company needs to get its business teams involved in the understanding of technologies available, what they can do and then the team can try out some pilot projects – both in addressing business process and technologies involved then chart out the further roadmap.
Hence the question is not if you need Big Data and Analytics strategies, question is are you ready for it.
Interesting times are ahead.