Companies Yet To Plan Spends On IoT, BI

by Preeti S    Apr 06, 2015

Amit Shekhar

With Customer Relationship Management (CRM) becoming a critical success metric to realize lower computing costs and faster ROI, businesses are increasingly realizing the need for better analytical capabilities. Gartner predicts that spending on Big Data analytics will grow three times faster in 2015.

Birlasoft, a Global IT Services provider and part of multi-billion dollar CK Birla Group, has successfully adapted to changing trends and challenges with its ever-evolving streategies. In this exclusive interaction with CXOTODAY, Birlasoft Chief Strategy Officer Amit Shekhar explains how the company is driving value creation framework using the right practice and what the CIO must know about the Business Intelligence strategy.

As a strategy officer, what are the key points you think a CIO should know while adopting a Business Intelligence strategy?

The competition is high and customers are becoming dynamic. Many a time, the CIOs don’t talk to customer because they are busy fixing IT. But they need to know what actually the customer wants, understand their business and that is where BI comes into play. With dynamism of the customer shifting on a daily basis, a CIO is required to act proactively to satisfy the customer. He needs to work on the turnaround time, on get feedback or feeler on one’s services. Whether it is a small or big product, a CIO should know the needs of the customer and how much of an interaction a customer demands. Business Intelligence plays a vital role in ensuring a balanced play of proactive and reactive strategies.

Cloud, analytics, and IoT are redefining many business critical areas. What are the data-to-information challenges they are posing?

There is a need to create awareness through education. Big data is a buzz word. One needs to understand how to identify useful data and separate it from big data.

That apart, we are still struggling in some of these initiatives like the discretionary spend, which means that budgets are not frozen for action items like BI, Cloud or IoT. Companies are still talking about ERPs of the world and running the business. But a lot of customers are keen on knowing how they can actually use those dollars to transform their business or bring in a change. The good part is, CIOs are now transforming their thinking from ‘running the IT’ to ‘changing the IT’. Hence education will act as a differentiator for the company as well as the customer.

Which are the trends that will redefine the space of analytics and business intelligence in future?

There is a lot of integration that will happen. Predictive analytics is based on data that is both structured and unstructured. Hence the trend will be to systematically integrate both structured and unstructured data. So connected BI is significant with the goal of redefining parameters within the unstructured data.

Second point is context. You have a product that you want to sell, so it is essential to know who will buy. After that, you need to know how the buyer will interact or react to the product.  

Third is the IoT. Basically, this is the understanding of how the data is being created and consumed. How a device interacts with the user? For example, sensors in the car show you on the dashboard the dangers about the engine. So, here we have both pre-sale and post-sale data. I can use that data as a user, as a manufacturer, as the lease guy, banking guy or an insurance guy. So, the data gets created at one place but consumed at multiple places.

How is BI useful in different verticals?

Think of BI as converting data into an equation and using that equation to reach your customers. The more I know about my customer, I can provide better services.

One example in healthcare: There is a company manufacturing kneecaps, which sends signals on the stress levels of the knee as the person walks or runs. The signals are sent in such a fashion that if the person is not walking for 3 hours, the signal will go to the patient saying you need to walk or you will lock your knee.

The same kind of thinking applies for finance, healthcare or banking. More than data creation, data usage is becoming critical.  

What is Birlasoft’s roadmap for the next few years?

What we are looking at is in the next 3-5 years, we want to be niche players creating value for our customers and mapping to their strategies. What today’s customers want to know is how they can innovate in a cost-effective manner.

What differentiates Birlasoft’s strategy from others in the competition?

We have a three tier strategy: The base is what we call the system of record, on that is the system of differentiation and the top layer is innovation. We have mapped our solutions with service lines along these tiers. While the system of records can be CRM, supply chain or ERP, the differentiation layer comprises cloud, predictive analytics and knowing how one can become more flexible and cut cost. As for innovation, we are doing some work in IoT. All these are inter-connected. Connected BI is a big differentiator that can be applied across domains and problems. The three layers of transformation that we run for mapping business problems are technology, process and data.

It is a closed group predictive supply chain that looks at business, process and technology from pre-sales, post-sales, social part and IoT. Connecting all these differing data elements is a closed group supply chain where we talk about connecting data.

Tags: Birlasoft, cloud, ERP, CRM, IoT, BI, CIO