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Simply Improving Decision-Making

October 4, 2013

I will be attending InterConnect 2013 in Singapore from 9 to 11 October where big data analytics will be central to discussions. Earlier this year when Tata Consultancy Services released The Emerging Returns on Big Data – A TCS 2013 Global Trend Study (available with registration), they identified differences in adoption of big data initiatives across the world’s regions. Asia-Pacific had the lowest percentage of companies undertaking a big data initiative: just 39% of the companies interviewed. However, 83% of companies in Asia-Pacific report that their big data initiatives have improved decision-making in their businesses, leading to a return-on-investment of 71% on average.

The report identifies being able to handle the large volume, velocity and variety of big data as organisations’ second-largest challenge to generating a return on investments in big data. This is a technical challenge, and as such demands attention and action from vendors in this industry.

IBM recently funded a report by the International Technology Group (ITG) which addresses this issue of technical complexity – the report is freely available for download here. The report’s authors interviewed a total of 42 organisations with active big data initiatives, 21 using IBM PureData System for Analytics and the other 21 using another vendor’s database machine. ITG found the three-year costs of ownership to be 47% less for the IBM system than for the competitor’s database machine.

The ITG report identifies time-to-value as an important measure of success in big data analytics. As identified by TCS, big data initiatives have the potential to improve decision-making – cumbersome database technology that delays the introduction of new analytic applications costs companies lost revenues and missed opportunities to create new profits.

Making big data technology simple to use isn’t easy. At IBM, the Research and Development teams responsible for PureData System for Analytics work to a mantra that their product must remain simple to own and simple to use, regardless of the difficulties this creates in their work. The rewards come when customers recognise their efforts. As noted in this video with John Naduvathusseril, Chief Data Architect, Nielsen Company: “this simplicity and the paradigm of an appliance, where you load data and just start running queries was not visible at any other competitive vendors that we tested.

It may be that simplicity of ownership and use are driving uptake in big data initiatives by companies in the Asia Pacific region where IBM is experiencing momentum for sales of PureData System for Analytics. Many of these new customers are registered to attend InterConnect 2013 in Singapore where I look forward to learning how simplifying big data is improving decision-making in their organisations.