By Dan Berthiaume
Although the existence of “Big Data,” and the potential value it can provide organizations that effectively store and analyze it, is well-known, few companies are actually realizing this value. Outsourcing some or all of the business processes associated with Big Data analysis is one potential answer to the problem of achieving the full potential offered by Big Data.
How Big Data interacts with BPO, and how BPO can aid organizations in more effectively collecting, analyzing and managing Big Data to produce superior business process outcomes, was the topic of a webinar, “Analyze This: Your Business Process Analytics Strategy May Be Hurting your Business,” hosted by BPO Outcomes on July 24, 2012. The webinar included presentations from BPO provider Capgemini and advisory firm Alsbridge. During his presentation, Terence Sandiford, Solutions Director, BPO Analytics of Capgemini, focused on how organizations can use Big Data BPO to move up the informational value chain.
Big Data Maturity Remains Elusive Goal
“We’re not necessarily seeing organizations reach analytical maturity,” said Sandiford at the outset of his remarks. “That means having outcomes-driven real-time processes drive real-time decisions.” Sandiford said that in today’s fast-moving competitive landscape, Big Data can provide a critical edge in making proper business decisions at the right time. However, companies need to not only collect Big Data, but then transform it into actionable information.
“The challenge is to get your master data management strategy right,” said Sandiford. “Data happening outside your organization about your customers and suppliers is so important. Then you transform data to information. The challenge in part is working across a changing enterprise. That information is then translated to knowledge, and then to decisions.”
The Changing Big Data Paradigm
According to Sandiford, the Big Data analytical paradigm is changing as tools and processes become available to delve deeper into it to uncover insights. “Predicting the future is one thing,” he said. “The ability to make informed decisions is another.” Sandiford said organizations need to create a centralized Big Data application where the view of data is operational and it sits above the processes where the data is created. With this enterprise view of data, companies can create an environment where they can tag the relevant external data they need to succeed.
However, Sandiford said that most data in organizations is “landlocked” in legacy systems and “static,” as well as “out of date almost at the point it’s created.” This means organizations cannot depend on the data they currently possess to make informed, real-time decisions. “Analytics based on poor-quality data lead to poor-quality decisions,” he commented.
The Argument for BPO
Sandiford advised organizations developing a Big Data strategy to first conduct some honest benchmarking of their existing analytical capabilities. “Look at the most fundamental decisions you make on a regular basis and see how you perform against your competitors or regulatory obligations,” he said. “Look at your top business questions and ask whether you’re basing those decisions on ‘gut feel’ and experience, or basing them on a very clear, accurate and informed view of data.” Sandiford also said companies should look at how they are perceived by customers and industry experts. “How does the world view you? If you are ranked number seven on a competitive list, why is that the case? What are the organizations above you doing?”
Sandiford said any organizations that perform this type of internal benchmarking and determine they need to change how they analyze (or start analyzing) Big Data should begin with outsourcing. “These organizations have some way to go,” he said. Sandiford concluded by offering a couple of real-life examples of companies that achieved significant success by obtaining Big Data analytical capabilities. “One UK bank has seen 800 million pounds of additional profit per annum by using a Big Data analytics application,” he said. “And Cisco prevented $327 million worth of leakage.”