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How Big Data leads to better decision making?

Big Data is giving rise to markedly improved decision making
and is having a significant impact on companies’ competitive differentiation
and ability to avert risk. According to a recent survey 91 per cent of Indian
businesses feel ‘Big Data will lead to better decision making’. As big data
technologies are emerging, organizations need to develop data-driven
decision-making skills.

Big Data is giving rise to markedly improved decision making
and is having a significant impact on companies’ competitive differentiation
and ability to avert risk. According to a recent survey 91 per cent of Indian
businesses feel ‘Big Data will lead to better decision making’. As big data
technologies are emerging, organizations need to develop data-driven
decision-making skills.

As per another business intelligence research firm, Aberdeen
Group, when business leaders can access company performance data faster, react
more nimbly
to business events, and be more accurate in their decision making
than their competitors, “then your company can begin to distinguish itself in
the
marketplace,” notes Aberdeen Group researcher Nathaniel Rowe in a recent
report.

Rajesh Janey, President, EMC India & SAARC said, “While
there is consensus in the business community that data would enable better
decision making
culture seems to be the biggest issue that businesses will need
to overcome as India continues its journey as a progressive economy. EMC is
committed to working with businesses on this transformational journey thereby
ensuring that they have the right tools to handle the most essential business
priorities successfully.”

Som Mittal, NASSCOM President opined, “India with its strong
focus in the field of core science and mathematics has one of the largest pools
of analytics and data science talent in the world. Given its large pool of
PhDs, actuaries and statisticians, India is well placed to capture the USD 2.8
billion offshoring opportunity from the United States. India currently employs
5,200-5,300 Risk & Procurement Analytics professionals, and this number is
expected to rise to 15,000 by 2020 playing a key role in supporting the
analytical needs of developed markets across the globe.”

Som Mittal went on to say that in the near future, the
demand for procurement analytics will be primarily driven by cost cutting &
efficiency initiatives, augmenting bottom line through enhanced spend
visibility, improved vendor management and lower working capital requirements.

“On the other hand, Real-time and on-demand Risk
Analytics driven by technology will be the next big growth wave in the market,
delivering up-to-the minute analytics to decision-makers to analyze the market
situation from time to time and make planned decisions. The country’s big data
industry is poised to grow from US$200 million in 2012 to US$1 billion in 2015
which will enable companies in better decision making based on substantial,
sizable and tangible facts and figures. However, the need of the hour is the
development and nurturing of the ecosystem including leveraging the Big Data
and Analytics applications for various sectors of the industry. To address the
growing business opportunities in the Analytics and Big Data space NASSCOM
recently announced the formation of an Analytics Special Interest Group with a
group of thought leaders comprising of members from Industry, Academia and
Government,” he said.

Mittal added that the group will provide thought leadership
on structuring the growth strategies for India to emerge as the Big Data and
Analytics hub for the world and help build holistic strategies for Talent and
Skill development program for this space.

HDFC Life CIO, Thomson Thomas said, “Traditionally
Customer’s past data and analysis of behavior gives companies greater
understanding of the same
which helps marketing target the relevant customers.
Combine with this all data that you get about customers across the digital
landscape and you get deeper insights both pre sales and post sales. As more
data points get added decisions become more sharper and specific. It could
throw patterns and trends before it impacts your business and also takes
service to another level.  Big data if
used effectively has the potential to be a game changer across industries.”

BigData because of its propensity for size has opened doors
which were previously unimaginable – out of seemingly trivial data, interesting
facts are emerging, with the very real possibility of changing completely how
we perceive data. It has long been noted that data can be and should be
converted to information, and information can and should be converted to
knowledge. It also stands to reason that more the data, more are the chances of
finding correlations between that data, and thus more the chances of converting
to information and eventually to knowledge.

“Well, think about terabytes, and even petabytes of data
being available for this transformation as the sources of data in the world
increase exponentially. I remember in the early 90s, when I got a PC (an IBM PC
at that time) that had 2 hard disks of 20 Megabytes each, people lined up to
see this atrociously humongous storage, and I also remember hearing that the
40Megs would last me a couple of lifetimes! Well, one picture I take with my
41MPixel phone camera today is much more than that, and I have about a terabyte
of video lying around. Those pictures are almost the real thing, and much of my
video recordings nowadays are 3D, just a touch away from reality! A lot more
information is contained in them now than it was 20 years ago,” said Monish
Darda, CTO and co-founder, Icertis.

Coversion of data
into knowledge

Monish Darda, Co-founder, Icertis, talking about conversion
of data into knowledge said that BigData uses power of the cloud to figure out
what excites people and how. This information is then correlated to their
social profiles to turn the information to knowledge – knowledge about
behavior, buying habits and the characteristics of the individual. Once armed
with that knowledge, better business decisions are just a step away – what
products to sell, how and where to position them, which colors to use, and what
demographic of people to attract!

Bottom line – increased sales and increased
profitability.Here are a few ways that BigData is improving decision making
today, and is opening up new avenues for improvement every day:

“By ensuring that the tools, storage and infrastructure
is affordable to store data that is now available, BigData technologies are
improving the retention of data. By not allowing data to go waste and
unutilized, the chances of that data being useful knowledge someday are
improved,” he said.

Darda explained that dredging the ocean of data, BigData
technologies are allowing creative users to find nuggets of knowledge buried
deep into volumes of data. For example, a web site’s clickstream data (which
can run to 100s of Gigabytes a day) is surfacing knowledge about user behavior,
attention spans and security breaches – something that could be possible only
because of BigData technologies.

Asking Different
Questions

“Decision making is said to be part information, part
experience and part intuition – interestingly, BigData is fast providing the
experience and the intuition. With technologies evolving around the processing
of large amounts of historical data (sometimes involving data collected over
decades!), the experience of a human can be replaced with a certain extent (and
in some cases even more successfully) by history. Intuition is mostly
correlation between unrelated items – like black cats and bad luck, and can be
as often wrong as right. But BigData processing is now turning up predictable
correlations between unrelated data to aid in getting a sentiment, a feel, and
an intuition if you will, across,” Darda explained.

“That is actually making people pause, and
dare to ask questions that have simply not been thought possible to ask a
computer system before – for example, which model of car should I try to sell a
person who just walked in wearing a red shirt, a swagger in his walk and who
drove in in a 1984 Fiat? Not intuition – the answer lies in BigData.Our world
is changing faster than ever before in human history, and BigData technologies
are making it happen,” he said. 

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