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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.

New trends in data analytics

According to Narayanan, one of the new trends in BI is how you assimilate the big data. "How closer to the action you are using analytics?" he said. "We want to reduce the action distance. Not only data gathering has to be real time, your ability to take action should also be quick and in the same media."

Another trend to watch out for, he added, is to be able to differentiate between fake and real social media chatter. "You know that success brings unsavoury attention," he said. "Today, there are social media sweat shops that can be used to talk good about you or talk bad about your competitor. How do you know those who are saying things about you are genuine or fake? Good BI tools should help you differentiate between the two."

Verticals more likely to succeed using BI

"Businesses which are under a constraint or a threat will succeed well using BI tools," Narayanan said. "Take telcos, for example. Earlier, there was no pressure on them to use analytics. Today, they are under tremendous pressure. Their traditional voice revenues are vanishing. People are shifting to IM (instant messaging and VOIP) than voice. That's why today telcos are moving into media and other spaces. Their traditional business is getting yanked out. Right now, they are a provider of a dumb pipe. Companies like Apple are raking in the revenues. In this scenario, telcos are trying to make money by moving from dumb pipe to smart pipe."

Other verticals, according to Narayanan, that can use BI to succeed are banks and financial services sector, healthcare, and retail.

"Healthcare is a major adopter of analytics," he said. "Public healthcare's objective is to make sure people don't get sick. So, population-level healthcare data is very useful for the government."

Doctors are also veering towards evidence-based medicine. "It's an example of analytics-driven healthcare," said Narayanan.

"For example, Singapore going for electronic health record is an inflection point," he said, referring to the Singapore government's US$144 million National Electronic Health Record system (NEHR). The Ministry of Health and Accenture launched in June 2011 one of the world's first national electronic health record (NEHR) systems. This serves Singapore's "one patient, one record" vision. The NEHR enables a single patient health record for clinicians to access across the healthcare continuum. "Under this electronic system, you are getting a single point view of a patient's health records. There are many benefits of this system. Long term potential is high in reducing people falling ill, and there are cost efficiencies."

Defence and security is also one of the big users of analytics but they don't like to talk about it, Narayanan said.


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