Big Data in Brazil: the year ahead

Organizations will do too much in 2014 - and pay too much, says analyst
Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Writer

The Big Data trends for Brazilian businesses starting their Big Data efforts this year include a series of challenges - including the pressure to launch big projects that could end up costing too much.

To Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg, who leads the Information Management practice in Brazil and Latin America, the adoption of Big Data in Brazil will also see major changes from previous years in terms of the maturity of the products to manage and analyze information.

According to the expert, the major Big Data trends to watch out for in Brazil are:

1. Skills scarcity will drive up cost of Big Data projects

"The number of resources with experience in Big Data is minimal in Brazil is growing but is still scarce," says Feinberg.

"This means most firms will have to rely on IT vendors and consultancies for the expertise and this situation is likely to drive up the initial cost of these projects," the analyst adds.

When it comes to local advanced data analytics expertise, only 20 percent of Brazilian businesses have skilled professionals in-house to meet those demands, while 12 percent are being trained. But 68 percent said they lack people with the required knowledge.

2. Organizations will rush into large projects

The pressure from management to ‘do Big Data’ will cause some to engage in very large projects, according to Feinberg.

We always recommend finding a small [pilot] project that will have a high business value to show what can be done with Big Data," the analyst says.

According to Mario Faria, the first chief data officer in Brazil, it takes around two years to build a data organization in any company.

"If you are really serious then you need to build up policies and operations around data strategy, data acquisition, data operations, analytics, governance, quality, privacy and so on. It takes time and investment and the CDO will help to implement all of these areas, but it is a journey," he says.

3. Beware of local technology suppliers

The use of tools not well supported in Brazil or Latin America is another concern, according to Feinberg. He explains that to date, none of the major vendors of Hadoop products are represented locally.

"With the possible exception of Mexico, there is little representation anywhere in Latin America. This includes Cloudera, MapR and HortonWorks. The good news is that many of the larger IT vendors do support these products - or their own. For example, Microsoft has HortonWorks, Oracle uses Cloudera, Teradata use HortonWorks, IBM and EMC/Pivotal have their own Hadoop distribution," he says.

According to director of business analytics at IBM Latin America, Sergio Loza, chances of success are bigger if Big Data projects are built around the areas where the business has had positive experiences.

"If the organization chooses a vendor platform that covers everything from the warehouse to the analysis, it will achieve progress in a sustainable manner. That's the recommendation I would give first: start with the best-known areas, with a vendor that has a proven platform with continuity," says Loza.

4. The number of organizations that can use Big Data is growing - but slowly

Most of the larger IT vendors and consultancies in Brazil are now building resources for Big Data tools, such as Hadoop, Advanced Analytics, Sentiment Analysis, CEP and Streaming data, according to Gartner's Feinberg.

"We believe that the largest opportunity for Big Data is actually the ability to finally use data that organizations have had for years but lacked the tools and expertise to use the data for any meaningful analysis," he adds.

According to Alejandro Padron, the Latin America Retail Leader at IBM Global Business Services, adoption of Big Data tools in Brazil is "a little behind" when compared to other large Latin American countries - but that is changing fast.

"Within Latin America, Chile would be a bit ahead of Brazil, but Brazilian companies are catching up. We have noticed a strong process of corporate modernization and transformation in retail, leveraged by the growth of the internal market, which has grown significantly and is expected to grow more," says the consultant.


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