The Big Data Opportunity

It’s generally accepted that unstructured data accounts for at least 80% of an organisation’s data

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The Big Data Opportunity
By  Piers Ford Published  April 15, 2014

It’s generally accepted that unstructured data accounts for at least 80% of an organisation’s data. A primary goal for looking at big data is to discover repeatable business patterns using BI and analytics tools, and in the process open opportunities for partners to earn recurring revenue.

As enterprises across the Middle East wake up to the implications – and limitless potential – of big data, the accompanying channel opportunities for providing storage, management and analytical services are growing with dizzying speed. The biggest danger – for resellers, systems integrators and customers – is that hitting the ground running, it could be difficult to avoid the occasional slip.

“Usage of big data in the Middle East is increasing as more top level executives are realising its impact on their business,” said Reganathan Krishnamurthy, senior research analyst at Frost & Sullivan’s business and financial services practice.

“Countries like the UAE and KSA lead the region in terms of usage and comfort levels. However, more than 25% of organisations are still unaware of big data as a tool.

“Even among those who are aware, a significant chunk of companies (including those in the countries highlighted) have been hesitant to adopt big data due to the inability to see the ROI. As a result, the market in this region can best be classified as developing. This situation is expected to change as these firms see industry participants that have already adopted big data analytics leapfrog their competition.”

Given that even conservative estimates suggest that 80% of a company’s data is unstructured, there’s a certain urgency in getting to grips with the situation – and a great chance for channel partners to generate recurring revenues with services that help customers extract the information that can give them a competitive edge.

Data management and analysis platform vendors like Teradata are poised to exploit this potential, reinforced with a skilled-up network of channel partners.

“Today the Middle East region boasts fantastic banking and financial services and advanced telco infrastructure, and here is where we have a part to play,” said Islam Zeidan, MEA sales and business development director, Teradata.

“Not only are we making efforts to help the region’s banking and finance industry and telecom industry drive performance, routes to market, customer retention and efficiency through our host of analytics platforms and solutions, we also actively contributes to the development of skilled resources needed to manage the data deluge and effectively leverage growing data sets to drive decision making, operational efficiency and customer experience.

“We play a very active role in helping our partners to develop the skills required to address the market needs. When it comes to big data, we provide a leading centre of excellence for big data, professional services, global consulting, partner enablement programs and education services organisations – resources available to our partners to help them develop their local skills and build big data competence.”

Nassir Nauthoa, GCC general manager at Intel, said that with the sheer volume of data (structured and unstructured) being created daily, CIOs face significant challenges on what strategy to adopt in terms of data retention.

“There could be a tendency to collect everything,” he said. “However, this could lead to inefficiencies unless a robust strategy is devised on what to store locally, in the cloud, access rights, intelligent retention measures for fast and effective data retrieval – just to give some examples. A lot of companies are in pilot phases on how to store, manage and extract value from their data. This is good news, as it will help to drive innovative solutions in this fast-evolving area.”

At the most basic level, this means resellers and channel partners have an important educational role to play.

“They need to work more closely with the right technology vendors to educate customers about the vast benefits of adopting big data solutions,” said Den Sullivan, head of enterprise & architectures for Cisco Middle East, Africa and Russia.

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