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Dealing with big data

Zafar Anjum | Feb. 10, 2012
How business leaders can use business intelligence to transform and grow their corporations.

Venkat Narayanan

Venkat Narayanan, head of strategic initiatives, Mahindra Satyam, and an expert on business intelligence (BI) speaking at Management World Asia Forum on 8 February in Singapore.

In today's business environment, the topic of big data is ubiquitous. In 2011, the global output of data was about 1.8 zetabytes (each zetabyte equals 1 billion terabytes). Amazingly, 90 percent of the data in the world was created within the last two years.

Yet, the times are such that dealing with big data in the most intelligent fashion has become de rigueur for many businesses.

Take the case of the airlines industry. The airlines business operates on thin profit margins, mainly due to fluctuating fuel costs and multiple taxes. Currently, for instance, China and the European Union are at war over paying emissions tax--all airlines have to pay this tax for flying in and out of Europe. China has said no to it.

In such a scenario, imagine having an algorithm that could help airlines fly more efficiently and save on their fuel consumption. That will help them become more competitive.

Enter Mahindra Satyam. The IT services company is doing exactly that--using its software framework to help some airlines save on fuel consumption. For example, it is helping a major Asia-Pacific airline through advance algorithms crunching several hundred thousand parameters and permutations to see how it can reduce fuel costs and meet tough EU emission requirements.

"A typical engine in an airplane generates 1 terabyte of data during a transatlantic flight," Venkat Narayanan, head of strategic initiatives, Mahindra Satyam, and an expert on business intelligence (BI) told MIS Asia. He was speaking at Management World Asia Forum on 8 February in Singapore.

"So if we collect this data from not only that one engine but all the engines of not one flight but all the flights, besides some other correlating factors such as the weather, altitude, speed, and so many other parameters, what you will be able to do is, for example, come up with a fuel consumption model. The various parameters that determine how much fuel is getting consumed will be developed into a model which will simulate different conditions. For instance, what if I fly at a different altitude? Will that change my fuel consumption? The airlines people can play around with controllable parameters such as cabin lighting to cabin temperatures, speed and altitude and so on to determine the optimal setting which will help them to save on fuel consumption."

Narayanan was at the forum to present his perspective and insights on how BI can transform and grow corporations.

"Asian corporations can harness next-generation analytical tools to grow and transform their businesses amidst a global economic slowdown, increased competition and the rapid emergence of social media," said Narayanan.

 

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