Data analytics crucial for a competitive edge


  • TECH
  • Thursday, 29 Aug 2013

Wong: Many companies are still at the conceptual stages of what will be considered big data for them and how they can make sense of such data.

By SUSANNA KHOO
bytz@thestar.com.my


IN today’s digital dependent world, it’s a case of data, data everywhere, but not enough insights to fully benefit from it.

In fact, according to Wong Weng Wah, regional vice-president for application services at Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd, most Malaysian companies have not really caught on with trends such as big data and location-based services.

“Many companies are still at the conceptual stages of what will be considered big data for them and how they can make sense of such data,” he says.
 
“Some companies may be already more advanced in the sense that they already use some form of business analytics. But there’s still a lot of data that is not being looked at yet because it resides in legacy platforms.”

Collaboration is key
 
Wong says that one of the common concerns amongst local chief information officers (CIOs) is the issue of data ownership.
 
“It’s about business and IT alignment. Is the data owned by business or IT (department)? There’s still this debate about who owns what,” he says.

However, Michele Lum, marketing director at Fujitsu (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, believes that the answer to this problem is simple: There just needs to be a greater collaboration between the IT department and other business units within an organisation.
 
“Each leader brings very different expertise to the table,” she says. “Business people would be able to provide key directions on what kind of information can help to grow the business, but it is the IT experts who will be able to advise on what technologies are available to achieve this.”
 
For companies that already have a significant amount of data on their hands, Wong advises them to work towards managing that data as a step towards embracing big data and location based technologies.

“Look at your current data. Start with a few applications you can measure and then scale up from there,” he says.

Viable option

Wong adds that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are at this stage can easily opt for either a cloud-based implementation, where “the capital outlay may not be that big”, or to build atop their existing on-premise systems.

Not all companies may see the value in taking such steps, but according to him, after a business has reached a certain size, it will increasingly need to rely on analytics in order to move forward and maintain a competitive edge.

“When business starts asking for this kind of strategic analysis, that’s when you’ll need to invest already (for the infrastructure of big data and location based technologies),” says Wong.

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