What’s your data story?
By Felix Foong September 24, 2014
- Companies need to create a ‘data culture’ and ensure insights reach every individual
- Three key categories are integral to the success of any platform vendor
COMPANIES have a lot to worry about these days. How many new people will we need? How do we produce more? How do we scale out our business? How do we rein in our costs? Where should we invest more? How is the market changing? How is the customer changing? How do we stay relevant and competitive?
These are all questions that are impossible to answer without data, and data only becomes useful when you have the right tools to analyse it.
Big brands such as BMW and Harper Collins are making the most of out of their data to meet the demands of their customers.
BMW, which makes and sells two million cars each year, adopted the latest database technology to meet its high availability and scalability needs, while Harper Collins looked to the cloud for a business intelligence solution for its global operations.
As a company, you probably have a lot of internal data created by your business, as well as access to external data that could tell you something about your market.
Some of this data might be stored more securely on-premise, while some of it might be more accessible or scalable in the cloud for ease of access or collaboration.
Your data might be coming from different systems you’re using, and therefore come in varying form factors. There might be a lot of it, and you might wonder how you’ll continue to store and access that increasing volume of data in a cost-effective way as your company continues to grow and generate even more data.
You want the data to be easy for all your employees to analyse, so they don’t always have to rely on specialised data scientists in corporate IT.
And finally, you know that every pitch would be more powerful with dynamic and visual data supporting it, because at the end of the day, data insights is about telling a story that is able to drive business actions.
Data = asset
New IDC research shows that companies that take a comprehensive approach to data stand to realise an additional 60% return on their data assets – an Asia Pacific opportunity of US$278 billion.
Data platforms that allow companies of any size to create a ‘data culture’ and ensure insights reach every individual in the organisation, will harness greater business value from their company data.
As we look into the future of data platforms, there are three key categories that will be integral to the success of any platform vendor. Any tech vendor that claims to have a complete platform should, at a minimum, cover these solutions.
1) Big data
According to the IDC Predictions 2014 report, the potential of deriving valuable insights and real-time decision-making from the current data avalanche will drive massive investments and create new data-centred analytics and content services.
In fact, the big data market in Malaysia is expected to reach US$24.2 million (over RM75 million) this year.
Thus organisations which have a comprehensive approach to data will realise the greatest dividend from their data. The goal is to make data analysis more simple and effective, enabling the entire organisation to make sense of their data and really make insightful decisions.
Every vendor’s big data pitch will start with mind-blowing statistics on the exponential growth of data volume. In today’s uber-connected world, vendors talk about some level of integration with the Hadoop platform, which makes it easier to manage and analyse huge amounts of data.
But that’s about where the similarities end as each vendor has taken a different approach to solving this problem. You will see some vendors redefining big data according to their own strengths, for example, focusing on the speed of data while ignoring the prohibitive costs of storing and processing high volumes of data in a model that’s not scalable.
Organisations should take a hybrid IT approach to scaling out big data, rather than trying to solve the big data problem with a big machine. When your data outgrows that machine, well, you shouldn’t have to purchase another machine.
2) Business Intelligence (BI)
How do you balance the BI and analytics needs of a central IT organisation with the varying needs of functional departments and individual contributors?
Harper Collins was able to rapidly deploy an efficient and agile cloud BI solution that gave its employees control over data. Your BI solution should deliver business insights that will allow your employees to speed up decision-making, and enhance efficiency and agility within the organisation.
Businesses with high availability and scalability demands require an enterprise-grade, reliable and secure data platform that businesses trust for their mission critical workloads.
BMW is using such a platform to address its needs for a highly available, scalable, and cost-effective mission-critical platform. The company has gained nearly continuous availability, eliminated its storage replication, reduced maintenance and troubleshooting time, and improved disaster recovery.
The right data platform provides the building blocks for businesses to connect their data, refine and analyse it, and deliver insights to people who can take action to achieve real business results.
The goal is to help businesses to unlock insights on their data and make them ubiquitous and real-time, by putting big data to work.
Businesses can increase the return on their data currency by connecting data across their company, connecting it to the world’s data, enriching it through analysis and delivering insights to as many people as possible – as quickly as possible.
Felix Foong is Lead of the Cloud & Enterprise Business Group at Microsoft Malaysia.
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