EMC is betting big on big data and has invested over $2.5 billion and acquired four companies in the last three years to strengthen its offering. Concerned about the lack of adequate talent in the country, the company has now launched professional training and certification courses in cloud computing and big data analytics in India. In addition, the NYSE-listed company aims to train over 30,000 engineering students in the first year as part of its EMC Academic Alliance (EAA) programme. Business Line asked Rajesh Janey, President, India & SAARC, EMC to explain the opportunity in this area.
What is the big data opportunity for India?
Big data is the digital wealth or new oil. Today, the volume, variety, velocity and complexity of information have changed the IT landscape. Businesses have data coming in from traditional sources as well as new sources such as social data, external data, and machine-to-machine conversations. Big data can help business synthesise, correlate and process this data to drive predictive analytics.
We are also seeing Government invest in all facets of ICT.
Doing real time analytics will provide tremendous predictive insight for better governance. Consider this: what if doctors could accurately predict for all patients that have had their first attack their risk of dying from a second in the next two years? Imagine what this would mean for India, where heart attacks are the most common non-infectious disease. MIT researchers have already made that possible by analysing 10 full hours of data per patient.
Business analytics has been around for years, so is Big Data old wine in a new bottle?
The practice of analysing data to gather business insights has been in existence since the late 1950s with companies using business intelligence (BI). However we have more and more data being generated, thanks to traditional as well as new sources such as social data, external data, and machine-to-machine conversations. Big data has datasets so large that they break traditional IT infrastructures.
What was missing in BI was the power of predictive analysis. BI tools were able to reveal the basic facts and sequence of events, but they lagged in analysing deep insights and providing them on a real-time basis.
When can we expect Indian enterprises to start using big data realistically?
EMC’s largest big data deal globally is out on India. Overall, we already have 50+ local big data customers as on date. Some of these include the likes of Reliance Comm FutureWorks, Rhythm & Hues and Xentrix Studios among others.
We expect verticals that are more consumer-centric and IT-savvy, such as retail, BFSI, telecom or others which process significant amounts of information such as oil and gas and healthcare, will turn to big data sooner than the others.
Does India have the necessary talent for big data?
Big data has created a new breed of professionals called data scientists.
These are individuals who are proficient in technology, math and analytics combined with the skills of software programmers, statisticians, mathematicians, storytellers and artists to extract meaningful insights hidden in the mountains of data found within and outside their organisations.
This talent is in short supply globally and India is no exception. A McKinsey study estimates shortfall for Data Scientists by 2019 at 1.9 lakh. India has the opportunity to address this.