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Can I outsource big data to vendors? Points to remember

Can I outsource big data to vendors? Before going to the answer of this question let us look at the different terms used in this question i.e. ‘Outsource’, ‘Big Data’ and ‘Vendors’.

What is outsourcing? Outsourcing refers to the contracting with another company for business purpose. It can be international and domestic contracts. Sometimes outsourcing also refers to exchange or transfer of employee and assets between different firms. It helps the firms in reduction of cost and improvement in quality.


Leverage big data for single version of customer and product

Master data management also known as MDM is a process of creating and managing all critical data to one file as a single master copy i.e. master data. In a larger organisation there are many different departments. In each departments there are many number of software systems and each system having large amount of data to share or to use. Overall a huge amount of data are flowing here and there in the whole organisation. All these data need to connect in one file, called a master file that would provide a common point of reference. So, we can say that “Master data is basically a shared master copy of data from different departments such as product, suppliers, employee and customer used by several applications within an organisation”.


7 check points to find whether you are ready for Big Data processing internally

Whether you agree or not, you probably need to look at ways to explore big data if you need to sustain in the industry.

Today, there are tens of billions of new Internet-connected devices and these devices send huge amounts of data to cloud or server. And, this data – big data, is a gold mine of information for business.

Recent research shows that the amount of data collected by enterprises continues to grow at a rate of 40 % to 60 % per year. And hence, it is prerogative for enterprises to start getting into big data and processing it – eventually, use it for decision support.

Big Data is a very large set of data and it could be unstructured, semi structured or structured data. It is huge, complex and very tough to handle using classical processing tools. We need special framework to analyse those huge amount of data. Also, we need multiple expert resources too for analysing these data. So, before starting the big data processing, it is good to check that whether we are ready for big data processing or not. Now, let’s look at some of the prerequisites – including people who needs in big data processing. Some check points before starting big data processing are:

Big Data lab – Big Data Lab is a dedicated development environment for experimentation within your current IT infrastructure with presence of big data technologies and approaches to process big data and analytics.

Though it is not mandatory, it is good to set up a big data lab to start big data processing. Is your big data lab setup ready to process the different steps of big data processing? If not then you are probably not really ready for processing big data. All the operations during processing will be occurred with the help of this lab. So, each and every component of this lab needs to be ready for big data processing.

Data Integration Capabilities– When we say data integration, it is essentially a process of connecting data to big data lab from different data sources. This phase or step is for connecting the data from its source to the technology – your big data lab. For this step, we need machine setup that can be used for this connection and the expert professionals who can perform data integration.

Data Development– In this phase, data is collected and arranged. Here, we may need a distributed database like HBASE for collecting big data and the developers to handle this operation with suitable tools and store the data in appropriate database according to the needs. Data developer needs to make the data readable for analysing tools like Hadoop, R, SAS, etc. All the necessary components for big data development and data processing to be ready in your big data lab with right skilled people should be available before data processing starts.

Data Analyst – To analyse big data, we need data analyst who can work on the data to find meaningful information. The role of data analyst is very important in the big data processing. Data analyst should be skilled i.e. know to apply different and appropriate analytic techniques for different types of problem. They should be experts of statistical and computational techniques. In short, we will need a team of analyst for this purpose. We must have a group of analyst having these skills before start processing.

Visualization experts– To visualize the analysis results, often we need visualization experts. The visualization experts must have ability to turn statistical and computational analysis into presentable graphs, charts and animation. They need to be expert in virtual art and design – more over business requirement. We may need these experts during presenting the analysis report to the client because client may not understand the big data table or any other technical things. So, we need to show them results in graphical or animated representation – it could be a simple dashboard. To be short, before processing big data you should have some good visualization experts.

Business Analyst– These are people who have knowledge of different area of business i.e. your business, industry, benchmark, pricing, marketing, risk analysis, finance, etc. They need to have ability to ask right business questions and a drive or orientation towards business objective of big data processing. If you have business analyst with these quality, then you can get a reason to analyse big data.

Data Scientist– In order to run the entire big data project and drive the big data processing exercise into meaningful and fruitful one, it is good to have a data scientist. Data scientist is an expert in the entire big data value chain with hands-on experience in big data tools and technology. Though it is a costly proposition to on-board a data scientist having end-to-end big data capabilities, you can consider hiring a consultant who can perform this job and get the project done.

To summarize, it is good to build big data processing capability as big data can help drive proactive business decisions. Once you have all the seven factors and resources ready, yes – go ahead and start exploring big data; and get prepared for a big leap in your business and growth.

Is it important to leverage Big Data for small business?

Small business owner may think that big data is for large companies with big time technology budgets. In reality, it is not. Small business can also stand for big data benefits within available – small budget. A small business needs to look at big data in different perspective as they may not know how to start and where to start or may not know if big data exist in the company.

Big data and analytics has become indispensable for any business to stay ahead in this competitive world. If we look at any small or large enterprise having outstanding financial performance over a period of last 4 to 5 years, all will have one thing in common – all of them leverage big data for their decision support.

What does this mean to a small business? Yes, it is the time to start with a first step – if not started.

Today, most of the small companies know that big data is playing a vital role in success of small company. Knowingly or unknowingly many small size business are missing out the benefits of big data because of some wrong believes. Recent studies states that small business thinks that utilizing big data is too costly. Quite often, it’s not really so. You don’t always need to invest huge money in storage, hardware or not even on resources. You may choose cloud option for storage and outsource it to a right vendor for processing.

Let’s look at some ways a small business can leverage big data

Increased customer focus – Small companies can look at all possible data sources – internal and external data, which can help generating better customer insight. Focus on customer preferences can bring increased customer base, lead conversion and revenue. Big data can help finding these hidden insight which can eventually lead to increased lead conversion.

Generate innovative ideas & New product development – Recent trends shows that companies do not require decades to build a billion dollar business. It all can happen in few years leveraging big data. Big data and analytics play a vital role in this journey of quick growth and increased ROI. A small business need innovative ideas which can bring them out from the common line. With the help of big data and analytics, business can have different and accurate information to make innovative ideas and products. It can help small companies to gain competitive edge in marketplace.

As long as you are not investing on big data hardware and software, it is all about testing the water and check whether you can make better informed decisions and leverage them to stand out in the competitive market place.

Massive data-sets on everything from demographic to social data, weather to GPS data,  consumer spending habits to government budgets – many are freely available online – if you know where to look and how to pull it. Also, there are many free big data tools available to make sense of this data.

Small Business, Small Investment and Big Data

Big data is only for Big business.” “For leveraging big data, large investment is needed.”

These are some of the myths about big data by which we often come across. Big data doesn’t mean that it is only for big business – and it is not. As we know that leveraging big data is very vital for companies for sustainable growth. Leveraging big data having countless benefits in smaller companies too. But unfortunately many small companies are missing these benefits of utilizing big data because many of them believe that leveraging big data is too costly. But the reality is often different. For leveraging big data, you don’t need to invest a huge money.

A recent survey from Gartner Inc. found that 73 % of respondent have invested or plan to invest in big data in next two years. It is 9% more than the last year record. While the number of business that said they have no plans for big data investment also decreased from 31 % to 24 %.

A SAS report published with the title “Big Data: Harnessing a Game-Changing Asset” showed that 73 % of people surveyed said that collection of data increased “somewhat” or “significantly” over the previous the previous year. So It doesn’t matter that you are a small or big company just go for big data.

Now, let us discuss that how small companies can leverage big data by small investment.

Use ‘unused’ data– If you are a small organization and you think that you don’t have enough data to analyse; then no need to worry, try to find unused data in your organization. This data can be the system information, review mails, sensor data, vendor data, customer transaction data, PDF files, etc. By analysing these data, you will get valuable insight for your organisation.

Vendor selection- You can take a wise decision on the topic that how to analyse big data, means by developing internal capability or outsourcing to a right big data vendor. Look at your need and then take a decision. If outsourcing big data to a vendor having low cost than developing internal capability; then go for a right vendor. If you want to focus on the core of your business; then also go for a suitable vendor.

Always start small- Always start with small. Don’t go for a large investment. First look for POC (Proof Of Concept) and then; invest in whole project. It will minimise your risk.

Tools and techniques– For big data processing, a large number of tools and technology is available. Try to find the appropriate and economic technology. For ex- Storing big data, you don’t need to invest on the hardware you may go for Amazon Web Services. Here you will have to pay according to the usage – as-a-service or pay and use.

Vendor location selection– Find big data partner from those part of world where cost is less and availability of high skilled resources are more. Distance between you and your big data partner doesn’t matter today.


In essence, if you don’t have enough high value customers your business will fail. The same applies if you spend too much money in big data for acquiring those customers or optimize the business value chain. As technology advances, big data is becoming an essential part for small businesses. To be in market competition, it is paramount for all type and size of business to invest in big data.

Small Companies & Big data processing: Way forward

The importance of Big Data is increasing in every passing day. Each and every organization wanted to implement the insight of big data to their business. It is not only applicable to large size of organizations but also for small and medium size companies are also expected to leverage big data for their business to propel growth.

A response from a recent Nielsen poll of 2,000 small businesses in the U.S.A, 41 percent think conducting market research is too costly, and 42 percent say they just don’t have the time. And even more surprisingly, 35 percent went so far as to say they’ve never even considered it.

Research shows that, the companies that have the best data and ability convert them for decision making is likely to win the battle. In other words, big data will play a key role in deciding the winner.

There are many rumours about the usage of Big Data to small and medium size companies i.e. Big Data is not applicable for small and medium size companies, cost of leveraging big data is too high and many more. The fact is that Big data is equally important for big as well as small companies. The cost of leveraging big data is not too high.

Let us discuss some area in small companies where big data insights can be implemented:

Information about customer insights: – By leveraging big data, you may know more hidden insights about the customers’ requirements. As big data brings a lot of information about the customer choice, you may provide your products to the customer according to their current and potential needs. Especially retail sector is using this concept in their business than other sectors and results are visible in our daily shopping experience. And today’s business, it is totally dependent on customer satisfaction – all about customer experience management and ensure collect data at each customer touch point and convert them to informed decision making. This can make customer feel special and delighted.

Better product / service offerings: – Either you have a small company or big company; you must know about your product and customer’s requirement and match of both. If you are offering a high quality product but it’s not according to the customers need; then it will give you zero value. So, to know about the customers need is the first step towards offering any product and for this purpose use of big data can tell you a great story.

Continuous improvement: – Once your product came to market then you need information about that product from customers i.e. feedback. You could only work on the same product again if feedback are positive otherwise you need to revise your plan and product. Big data help you in this purpose to find information as feedback from different sources.

Value chain optimization: – Customers requirement, their preferences, demand forecasting, source of raw materials, processing, supply chain management, vendor management, sales and marketing, human resource support, etc. all these make an eco-system for a company. To be precise, companies having capability to capture data for the entire value chain and leverage them for decision making can improve the way it runs. Big data can better help you to collect these data points and can transform the way to minimize cost and maximize the efficiency of the value chain.

Marketing: – Almost every big company’s decisions are data driven. Strategic plans or especially marketing plan is drafted on the basis of information obtained after leveraging big data and advanced analytics. Data driven decision are more powerful and economic rather than that decision which has taken without it.  This can be also applied in small smart companies and definitely help keeping your business in front line.

In summary, companies – small, medium or big do not think a lot about their cost and own capability of big data; just get into it. In upcoming years, big data to be an important tool for survival and growth of any company.

Big data analytics and Competitive growth

In today’s tough competition, big data analytics is playing a vital role in deciding the winner of the market place. Today’s business is mostly centred on the customers, especially retail sector. So, companies prefer to craft personalized marketing strategy according to the changing behaviour of customers. If ‘Technology’ brought big data concept; then ‘Marketing’ used it most for the organization’s growth.

In a recent survey from accenture and general electric showed that 87% of enterprises believe that with the use of big data, the competitive landscape of their industries will be changed in upcoming few years.

89% of them believes that companies without using big data analytics strategy in the next year, they will lose their market and be as competitive.

73% of the companies are investing twenty percent of their technology budget in big data analytics.

From these results we can imagine the role of big data analytics in an organization. Let’s see how big data analytics can help in competitive growth.

Customer insight – As we know that today’s business is customer centred and customer is the focus. So, companies collect data about their customers from various customer touch points and after analysing those data they understand more insight about customers. Companies who missed these valuable analysis result is nowhere in the competition today.

Personalized and dynamic Marketing– For better increased sale, companies need personalized marketing strategy and it is only possible when companies have detailed information about their customers or potentials.

Improved of customer experience– Big data helps companies to improve their customer experience not only in after sale but also to provide new products to the customers according to their needs.

Innovative ideas– Big data helps companies to develop next generation of products and services. For this, manufacturers are using data obtained from sensors embedded in products to create innovative changes new product development after sales services. Analysis of those data helps them to do some innovative way to serve their customers and delight them. If companies not using these benefits and serving them in traditional way; then they are likely to lose their customer base. Getting a new customer is far tough than holding an existing one. So, you always need to do something new for your existing customers. NOKIA is one of the victim of this case.

Minimize risk- A decision based on the real time data is always far better than that decision which is based on historical data – meaning way old data. If you have no information about the current market and trends, then you are making a decision then there is no guarantee that it will work. But after analysing the behaviour of market and making a decision; then it is likely to have less risk.

Improve internal capabilities – Use of big data make an organisation well organised. Companies can know about their internal capabilities using the analysis of these data and can make decision for the improvement.

In summary, the insights that we collect from big data and analytics can be used in different industries and can be paramount in exploring competitive growth. In the upcoming years we will be the witness of big data and analytics to decide the winner of the competition. So, organizations that are not leveraging big data and advanced analytics for decision making; then get on it; else you may lose your position in the game.

How retailers can leverage Big Data?

Big data is not only for technical things. It is having a wide application in different industries. Retail sector’s major growth is dependent on the big data analysis. According to a survey by Gartner — a technology research firm, 64% of the organizations are investing or planning to invest in big data technology.

In retail industry, a large amount of data is generated in every moment. They use different tools for analysing these data. There is great benefits of applying big data in retail sectors. The decision taken on the basis of big data analytics gives benefits to both the store and the customer. According to research by Monetate, retailers have big plans in store for big data. But the question is How? How retailers can leverage big data? Which way it will give benefits to their business.

Let’s discuss these benefits in which big data will helpful to retailers.

By determining customers demand– Today’s retail sector is totally dependent on customer’s choice. They need to arrange their business according to the customers need. With the help of big data, retailers can have better understanding of the customers’ needs i.e. which product customers want the most. This information helps them to serve right product at right time.

Matching goods– Most of time customers having the idea about what they want according to their needs but due to unavailability of enough option they were unable to find perfect match. So big data analysis provides you a close choice of customers’ preference so you can include it to your options.

Perfect calculation of offers– As a retailer the most perfect part to execute the sail is to put best offers to the customers at the perfect time i.e. when they are needy of those items. This makes both happy retailers and customers. You can use big data analysis for the information about the needs of customers.

Fraud detection– Big data also help retailers to find fraudulent. By using different techniques of analysing data you can detect the patterns of fraudulent. Keeping secure and safe your business should be highest in priority and big data will help you for this reason.

Analysing sensor data for organised service– By analysing the data of sensor you may get the exact information about the number of customers and their time of shopping. This analysis can help you to organise your store in well-mannered way.

Smart marketing– Today’s getting success in business not only dependent on marketing but more on smart marketing methods. Smart marketing refers to that marketing in which marketing will be customized according to the needs of individual customers – what they call personalized marketing. If a customer adds any product to their virtual cart and due to some reason they remove it from their cart, then you can try to give them some customized offer on that product to covert the sale to dollar.

If we look any leading retail players in the market today, all of them leverage big data and analytics for their decision support. Meaning, there is no other way to withstand in this competitive retail market instead leverage big data for your retail business – and it can help you to stand ahead of your competitors.

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