big data

Still early days for big data in India

Satarupa Bhattacharya

Indian organizations are missing out on business opportunities because they still do not recognize the importance of information and have not taken their big data strategies

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beyond planning stage.

Over 92% of global CIOs have not taken their big data initiatives beyond the planning stage, according to research from Gartner. While 64% of the 720 organizations surveyed globally have big data investment plans, less than 8% have actually deployed big data technologies. Another 20% are piloting and experimenting, 18% are developing a strategy and 19% are knowledge gathering.

Media and communications companies are the most active investors in big data technology globally, with 39% having already invested in big data. Some 34% of banks and 32% of services firms have also already invested.

Businesses, including those in India, are struggling to grasp what information is important to business and how to make use of it.  

“When asked about the new kinds of technology information they anticipate as being disruptive in the next few years, half of the respondents to Gartner’s 2013 Worldwide CEO and Senior Executive Survey could not provide an answer or name a technology,” said Gartner India analyst Partha Iyengar.

But some in India see this year as a turning point in big data adoption. “For big data, 2013 is the year to deploy," said Wipro analyst S. Singh. “It is still a very nascent stage in terms of adoption.”

Gartner said initial big data investment is small, and comprises time mainly. “Then it is typically followed by an experiment or proof of concept. Still, the investment is small and tentative. Then, after completing a successful pilot, the first deployments take place.”

Existing CIOs might not be tasked to lead big data strategies. Businesses will need to hire individuals who can get more out of the information available.

Geeta Mukherjee, risk analyst at TCS, said CEOs are looking for chief digital officers (CDOs) for this role. 

“I consider that enlightened CEOs are finally beginning to realize the true value potential – they are going on to hire CDOs for exploiting information assets more vigorously,” said Mukherjee.

According to research carried out in 2012 by IBM Institute for Business Value and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, the most effective big data solutions identify business requirements first, and then tailor the infrastructure, data sources and analytics to support the business opportunity. 

"These organizations extract new insights from existing and newly available internal sources of information, define a big data technology strategy and then incrementally upgrade their infrastructures accordingly over time,” the research report said.