View big data as opportunity, not problem

Businesses that manage to avoid big data avalanche and tap analytics to gain valuable insights, especially in new age of social media, geo-spatial information, will gain upper hand over competition.

Like a double-edged sword that can cut both ways, big data has the potential to provide local businesses with immense benefits but can also harm them in an overwhelming way.

According to analyst firm XMG, the answer in solving the explosion of information lies in the capabilities and attitudes of companies toward big data.

Its research analyst, Jacky Garrido, pointed to an XMG survey which revealed that a majority of organizations viewed big data not as a problem but as an opportunity to discover new facts about their customers, markets, partners, costs, and operations.

"About 30 percent of the respondents say big data is a problem, while 70 percent said it is an opportunity," Garrido shared.

She said businesses should tap data analytics to avoid getting buried under the humongous amount of information they generate through various outlets. She added that the emergence of big data has fueled the growth of data analytics so much so that it is now almost de rigueur among companies to install such tools in their IT systems.

"Big data only becomes interesting if you can derive value from it," she said, adding that businesses can gain real value and insights through big data analytics.

And this business potential is likely to grow in the "age of social media, geo-spatial information, and credit card portfolios".

Garrido said: "For instance, it is not enough to just store data on a server, the data needs to be mapped out and critical data needs to be segregated from the non-critical data."

Overcome big data for competitive edge
Storage vendor EMC elaborated that IT consumerization and the increased usage of smart devices are creating data deluge, making it difficult for organizations to extract insights.

"The companies who can successfully harness big data to improve their strategy and execution will find themselves having an edge over those who do not," said EMC Philippines country manager, Ronnie Latinazo.

He noted that demand for data scientists is now outpacing supply in some countries as a result of the digital explosion.

To navigate this cluttered space, Latinazo suggested that organizations need to get onboard an analytics platform that integrates structured and unstructured analytics with real-time feeds and queries. "This should be conducted through a self-service interface and built-in collaboration," he said.

Garrido said XMG's global studies indicated the potential of big data, and consequently data analytics, noting that data generates the highest financial value in healthcare, government, retail and manufacturing, and telecommunications.

"These sectors leverage data to design their products or services and decision-making, or accelerate their productivity," she said.

Citing another XMG survey which polled 325 companies, she revealed that advanced data visualization came out tops, at 27 percent, as a feature respondents would like in their analytics tools in the next three years. This was followed by advanced analytics at 17 percent, and real-time reports or dashboards with 16 percent.

Advanced analytics, Garrido explained, is a collection of related techniques and tool types which typically perform predictive analysis, data mining, statistical research, and complex SQL queries.

Melvin G. Calimag is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.


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