According to industry researcher Frost & Sullivan, the global big data market will reach US$122 billion in revenue by 2025 and the global data traffic will cross 100 zettabytes annually by 2025. The use of big data analytics to uncover insights has long been touted as one of the greatest technological trends of all time.
Because businesses in this day and age have an increased capability to collect and accommodate colossal amounts of information, leaders today recognize the need to carefully analyze this vast pool of data in order to generate important, actionable insights that measure and assess changes in the behavior of consumers and the marketplace.
A large proportion of organizations remain unaware or unsure about how big data can help in the decision-making process. They continue to use legacy processes, educated guess-work or even rely on intuition
Progress of big data analytics
But while the concept of “big data” has become ubiquitous in recent years, closer to home in Hong Kong, research has shown that adoption is slower than expected.
According to IDC, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) organizations are fast progressing in big data and analytics readiness, with 34% of them progressing to more mature stages. Hong Kong, however, has progressed the least.
Big data in Asia stands at a critical juncture, but clearly a gap remains to be filled for it to achieve mainstream awareness.
Although interest is growing, many leaders are still deterred by the potentially large budgets, the lack of proven success metrics, and more importantly, the big learning curve involved in adopting a big data mindset.
From our experiences with customers in Hong Kong, one of the most common challenges is the operational issue of merging new and existing data sources. Relying solely on legacy processes and traditional methodologies are insufficient to ensure performance efficacies in big data
Such integration issues and the complexity with the use of data can be daunting. In addition to that, companies may also have a lack of skilled professionals with the knowledge and expertise to implement big data and cloud computing technologies within their enterprise.
For businesses looking to transform their business with big data, here’s a four-pronged approach:
Overcome the legacy bias
One of big data’s greatest impacts on key business decisions is its ability to serve as the voice of the consumer. Forrester has predicted that in 2016, companies that are adapting to digitally-savvy and empowered customers will begin to thrive, while laggards will slowly begin to fail.
Even so, a large proportion of organizations remain unaware or unsure about how big data can help in the decision-making process. They continue to use legacy processes, educated guess-work or even rely on intuition to make important business decisions.
That is something that businesses must learn to move beyond. Echoing this point is IDC. It has also emphasized the point that making use of technologies such as cloud and big data analytics to create competitive advantage through new offerings and business models will be the key driver for success in the coming years.
Use all your data
An organization that wants to leverage big data technology to its full potential must ensure that it is utilizing all the relevant data that it can muster from both internal and external sources. The idea is simple: the more data you analyze, the greater your insights.
Even companies that have already embraced big data may not be using all the information available to them. Being data-driven is a good thing; but if you are only looking at parts of the data, you may overlook certain long-term trends.
Manage success with a chief data officer
As companies take on data analysts, they often have to choose between specialists who are adept in their particular field of work, and generalists who can nimbly navigate across diverse business conditions.
Multi-skilled generalists, such as chief data officers, are better suited to fast-paced business environments. They are the ones who are always asking whether the organization is efficiently using every single piece of data to churn out the newest and latest insights, regardless of business units and siloes.
Thanks to the emergence of cloud-based solutions, small and large businesses alike can now make use of big data with minimal resources, making way for a cost-effective transition from their legacy processes
Look to the cloud for analysis
The substantial up-front cost for an in-house infrastructure required to employ big data analytics was once a barrier-to-entry for many businesses thinking of making the shift. Thanks to the emergence of cloud-based solutions, small and large businesses alike can now make use of big data with minimal resources, making way for a cost-effective transition from their legacy processes.
Even organizations without in-house data-analysis infrastructure can now embrace a data-driven culture by outsourcing for big data services with the help of a trusted hybrid IT provider. Their competitors, who fail to catch onto the trend, will begin to fall behind and become increasing out-of-sync with the rapidly-changing consumer behavior and marketplace dynamics.
Moving into 2017, more business leaders will learn to understand the hype around big data, and conversations about it will only continue to make waves. There will be a targeted focus on how to effectively harness big data analytics, and how to identify the right individuals with the dexterity to navigate the big data domain.
There is now very little reason for companies not to embrace big data, and they need to start seeing it as an evolving technological trend. Businesses and organizations must catch on and adapt as fast as possible, or they might run the risk of losing out in this data chase.
About the Author
Benny Lee is Regional Director, Greater China, at CenturyLink, a cloud, data, managed IT services, security and voice company. This article first appeared in Computer World Hong Kong, a sister publication of CFO Innovation.