By Preetam Kaushik
Social platforms, search engines and millions of other consumer-facing websites continuously collect data as users surf, search, read, play and transact online. However, it has only been fairly recently that businesses started realizing that the cumulative volume of data has become “big,” and actually so big and unstructured that companies require dedicated staff and analytics to help make sense of it.
Big Data Volumes Pose Challenge
In a recent white paper Nouvera, a provider of Big Data analytics solutions and services, quotes a McKinsey report stating that terabytes and petabytes of data are generated from social networking sites (30 billion pieces of content are generated every month). Add to that the roughly 5 billion mobile phones now in usage, as well as all the data that private companies and state agencies collect for their own purposes.
This data, which comes from so many sources, is not only unstructured, it is also ever-changing. It is challenging to get analytics capabilities for this volume of data in place. However, by acquiring geospatially contextualized real time analytics, companies can make solving that challenge worthwhile.
Of course, if the cost of analyzing Big Data is more than the ROI, there is no business reason for Big Data analysis. And many organizations lack the skills, capacity and infrastructure to properly collect and analyze Big Data in house. This makes Big Data analysis a prime candidate for outsourcing/offshoring.
Big Data Fits BPO
However, the “Big Data” a typical organization collects is also not as easy to share for outsourcing without making heavy investments in hardware and software and creating infrastructure. While big data analytics is tempting for organizations, it needs to be performed in a manner that is cost-effective, high-quality and convenient. The only method that fits in that scenario is a cloud- and cost arbitrage-based model of outsourcing. With outsourcing is a proven model for cost effectiveness and cloud proven to be convenient, the marriage between the two is timely and inevitable.
But outsourcing, and indeed offshoring Big Data analysis to locations such as India may work, not only because of the arbitrage model, but also because there is an apparent shortage of analytics skill in industrialized countries. According to the Nouvera white paper, in the US “there is a shortage of some 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills and an even higher number of managers and analysts (1.5 million) to analyze big data for decision making.”
Some major global IT companies, such as Oracle, are heavily into Big Data analytics. In addition, with its new Genome offering, Yahoo aims to deliver highly targeted online advertising and marketing supported by Big Data analysis.
The big question, however, is that while data is there, what companies get out of it is based on what they want. It is the information strategists who have to understand what they require from Big Data and how that information would be utilized before BPO providers can deliver the true value of Big Data analytics to their customers.