Unlocking the power of data!

Fact and figures with regards to data usage determine an explosion of data in the near future. While most claim data as the most valuable resource, the challenge is to unlock its true power to grow businesses. In 2018 alone, big data adoption grew to 59% from 17% in 2015. By the current year 75% of analytic solutions will incorporate 10 or more external data sources.

The future looks bright for data as it sees itself becoming the most valuable resource. Organizations of all hues are harping it to stay ahead of the curve. Many arguments around data becoming the new oil has encouraged the information technology sectors in India and around the world.

A roundtable organized by Microsoft and Cloudera in association with BW Businessworld gathered the most experiences spokespersons across various industries. The topic ‘Unlocking The Power of Data’ indulged the experts in rich discussions moderated by Daya Prakash, Consulting Editor - Technology Projects, BW Businessworld.

Amit Sethi, VP - Regional CIO MENAT & India, Global Digital Customer Experience Leader, Baker Hughes, a GE Company said, “Data can become the new oil if it is viewed as a value creation asset. Digital has helped organizations to define new models of value creation by encouraging customer to customer collaboration on their products and platforms. The next phase in the transformation of data will see how organizations leverage this data to define and measure functional and experiential benefits for customers while generating brand loyalty in return.

Vinod Ganesan, Country Head, Cloudera said, “We at Cloudera wouldn’t want to get in the depth of discriminating between data and oil. Oil has unlocked a similar evolution in the past and today data is transforming business environments to digital. In the end we need to figure out the ways in which new trends and resources could drive growth for our organizations and customers. With growing statistics on analysing data and the entire industry shaping up rapidly, I take great pride in doing businesses with our customers. Everybody have different outputs in the end which depends on how we derive value from resources around us”.

Most organizations today are handling incredible volumes of data. Due to various digital platforms there has been a massive influx of data. The way the splurge has taken place (59% increase in 2018 from 15% in 2015) data seeks to replace oil in providing in depth consumer insights and cost efficient methods to tap them.

Deriving value from data leads the way towards customer behaviour. With an abundance of unstructured data, organizations see a huge challenge in making the most of the available information. Rahul Shandilya, President and Group CIO, Welspun Group spoke about the solutions in his organization.

He said, “We always focused on analysing and evolving structured data which has eventually led to a stronger decision making process. The B2C space has witnessed an exponential growth of data ranging from activities equivalent to the size of an enterprise. The deluge is very high and so the decision making process needs to be better especially when the data is leveraged. Data along with solving a problem can also help discover one too. Investing more time into data sciences provide alternatives to deal with various problems and we as leaders have the opportunity to make smart decisions to drive business growth”.

Manas Dutta, CFO, Wockhardt Limited said, “Manas Datta, Group CFO, Wockhardt Limited said, “I personally feel oil and data cannot be compared. I come from both manufacturing (pharma) and service (hospitals) industry and as a Group CFO’s point of view,  I feel, one needs data either to get control, change or for growth. Whether data can be compared to oil or black hole, it all depends on how data currently is being used for change or for growth”. 

As the roundtable saw curious and sceptical ideologies towards determining data’s full potential, the video on demand industry sees their entire business revolving around it. Companies around the world venturing into digital services foresee data as the primary source of business. Analytic solutions are said to incorporate more than 10 external data sources by 2019.

Akash Banerji, SVP & Business Head, VOOT – Advertising Video on Demand Platform , “At VOOT, we get close to 55 million consumers every month spending colossal amount of time watching videos across a wide & a deep library of content that is more than 60 thousand hours. The vast amount of data that we have now at hand has led to driving efficiency, effectiveness and great consumer insights for our business Power of data whether used to drive personalized product experiences , marketing to the right audience with the relevant content piece, making selling on our platform with precise targeting now available to our advertisers or understanding what kind of content should we be creating and evaluating lifetime value for different consumer cohorts to drive business ROI are just few of the means on how we use data here at Voot. The ability to unlock data and harness it to drive business decisions consistently in the new age is a source of competitive advantage. 

Mohit Rochlani, Director – Operations and IT, IndiaFirst Life said, “You need to optimally use your own assets. Companies like Amazon are at the top of their game because of data insights. In future there will be no  clear boundaries between customer segments and businesses need  to learn more about the customers through multiple sources  of data. Customer Data for insurance is very limited as of now  and we need it more than most businesses to understand our customer’s desires before we sell them the right type of financial product and service them as per their expectations”.

Anand Narayan, CDO, True North Co provided an analytical forecast of unstructured data. He stressed upon viewing data as a critical resource. Coming from a digital background he opined that it is necessary for organizations to use all data in decision making including the 80% of it that is unstructured.

He said, “20 ZB of data exists today and there is a high chance of that increasing to 45% in the near future. If you look at history, all the economic models considered men, money, machines and material. Data similarly is a another resource. Tomorrow there will come a time where we would evaluate our businesses in terms of their IP and data usage not just their P&L and balance sheets. 80% of data out there is unstructured and 7 Billion devices are creating data with 5V - velocity, variety, volume, veracity and value. Given "value", for the future we must understand how to pick, what to pick and put money on the right data points for business. Analysing of all data in the present is crucial for a clearer picture tomorrow”. 

Banks have seen data pave the way for innovative products and services that can be catered to larger audiences. A country like India consisting a diverse geography has witnessed an evolution in the financial sector. Contextual marketing is a key strategy at DBS Bank to structure information and understand customers digitally.

Rajesh Prabhu, Whole-time Director and CFO, DBS Bank said, “We at DBS took the decision to go digital in 2014 around which we developed our proposition and automated front to back. We want to go ‘phygital’ and limit physical presence to strategic locations with focus to acquire customer mostly digitally. Contextual marketing here can be very relevant for providing personalised offering to consumers. This has helped us become one of the top digital banks in India. Unlocking the power of data and providing access to the right target audience can help transform industries faster”. 

KRC Murty, Head of RTB Function (IT), Kotak Mahindra Bank said, “While running many applications across our digital platforms, we have seen a great advantage data can bring to organizations. At Kotak Mahindra Bank we process new data coming in from various sources and have given more attention to analytics as a key strategy. Data if segregated for the right use with the help of the right tools can help decrease the load. Similarly it has also taken the load off from our various applications aligning our goals towards the ease of management. We can keep procuring abundant information but it only works in our favour if we nurture our data and the teams managing the process”.

Ravi Kumar, Head of Digital Initiatives, Pidilite Industries Limited discussed how his company is making the most out-of-data.

He said, “I am surprised, no one has touched upon the internal change management around data and analytics. All of us have been capturing data for a long time and might have also organized the information well to leverage analytics. The real challenge however is, how do we enable our business users to adopt these analytics services in decision making.
 At Pidilite, our current focus is around empowering business users to embrace self-service analytics. We are identifying high-impact areas and training power-users on analytics techniques. There is a complete program being designed to identify the right user – there is a qualifying criteria, developing the necessary skills & ensuring adoption in business decision-making. Field-force effectiveness & Sales Execution are the focus areas for us, to begin with”.

Sujith Shetty, Customer Success Director, Microsoft India while concluding the roundtable opined on the trends around cloud computing and data analysis affecting Microsoft in India. 

He said, “I agree cloud has not matured much, but a lot of innovators are focused towards choices for customers as a cloud provider. We always focused on hybrid architecture for our customers since it is engraved in our values. With an abundance of unstructured data scattered across the world, cloud plays a vital role in augmenting computerized 7 automated services. Our experience states that customers focus on a variety of data and managing structured data. We at Microsoft are challenged till date with regards to organizing unstructured data. The key value for cloud we have set our eyes upon is based on providing affordable solutions in customer compliance than technology”. 

The roundtable produced knowledgeable insights to understand how most businesses aim to transform digitally backed by data as the most valuable resource. The Grand Hyatt, Mumbai hosted the discussion in the presence of industry leaders on the 22 nd of May, 2019. 

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