"Implementing big data is a business decision not IT"

by Sohini Bagchi    Jul 06, 2012

Big data has arrived and is here to stay with more enterprises looking at exceptional data growth to suit business needs. In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, Anirban Dey, VP - In-Memory Platform Technologies (HANA), SAP Labs India shares his views on big data market, opportunities and challenges in the enterprise segment. The excerpt.

Anirban Dey SAP

Could you demystify the buzz created around Big Data?
Big data as you have rightly pointed out has become a buzzword and has generated a lot of interest from a global perspective. It is a terminology coined by the industry. Many believe it is about managing a huge amount of data which to an extent is true, but what they fail to understand is that big data is much more than just managing data. It is about obtaining, processing and analysing huge volume and velocity of structured and unstructured data. This means, it could be plain text, audio or video or any other form of data. It can also be about managing the GPS data or comments in Twitter or other social media. Whatever, it is the data should be processed and analysed such that they make sense for the business.

How are companies worldwide handling big data? Are Indian companies compelled to follow suit?
A huge number of enterprises have adopted this technology or are on the way of adoption as the CXOs are increasingly realising the value of managing and analysing both structured and unstructured data. If we talk about Indian enterprises, big data is evolving but has a huge growth potential. In fact these days, I get a lot of queries from Indian CIOs asking us what big data is and how it can help their business, and this is certainly a positive sign. When people try to understand the technology, you would definitely notice an upswing. There are of course some businesses who have already deployed big data and reaping benefit. The demand for big data will continue to increases as enterprises continue to connect to their stakeholders.

Which industries/ verticals in India are the key drivers of big data in India?
As far as its adoption is concerned, big data can become a priority for CIOs across industry segments. However, until now sectors such as banking, telecom and BPO followed by retail, R&D and the government have shown maximum interest in this new technology. I would say, any enterprise that relies on a huge volume of data is going to be an early adopter and implement big data to streamline business processes and connect to customers better.

Which of these is advised –software only or cloud-based big data solution?
Cloud is the reality today and enterprises are realising this. Cloud computing has become a viable, mainstream solution for data processing, storage and distribution. In fact I would say the most important driver for big data today is cloud computing. So, a cloud based big data solution is an area of tremendous potential for enterprises and SMBs. However, some organisations also prefer an on-premise or software based big data solution. Both the models can co-exist and enterprises can go for a hybrid cloud model when deploying big data in order to create a better value for their business.

What are the best practices to follow while implementing big data solutions?
Implementing big data I believe is more of a business decision and not IT decision. So, all the decision makers in the enterprise, and not only the CIO –should ask what exactly they are looking at to get the real value out of the data. Big data has to to be delivered in a comprehensive platform so that it can be effectively stored and managed. A smarter data management approach not only allows Big Data to be backed up far more effectively but will also result in huge cost savings and productivity.