Here is the fourth installment in the “Data in Action” data innovator profile series. Today Romi’s interview is with Dharmesh Godha, CTO of Advaiya.
Dharmesh has more than 15 years of experience working with companies like Microsoft, i2 Technologies, and International Network Services in various technology, solution design, and project implementations. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur, India), where he submitted an award-winning thesis on XML technologies. As a CTO at Advaiya, Dharmesh analyzes the direction of technology platforms and he aligns Advaiya’s initiatives to the state-of-the-art in technology and business. He leads the vision and architecture for solutions on improving enterprise productivity and consumer experiences.
Romi Mahajan: When you think of Big Data, what is immediately conjured up? What is the opportunity in Big Data?
Dharmesh Godha: When we think about Big Data, things that immediately brought up are:
Digital data is growing at a rapid pace and this requires new tools and techniques to find relevant data and analyze implications. With convergence of enterprise and consumer IT and individual shifting from consuming data to creating data. Enterprises are shifting from processing internal data to mining external data are looking toward how to manage and monetize this data with the availability of cloud computing and storage resources on the cloud.
The opportunity in Big Data is for everyone – one end enterprises are looking for ways to monetize their data assets as well as for government and consumers are already beneficiaries even if they don’t know it due to rise in digital consumerism.
How does Indian business use Big Data today? How can India-based providers like Advaiya help companies realize their Big Data dreams?
According to NASCOM India will see its big data market grow to US$1 billion in 2015 given the increase in opportunities due to companies looking for evidence-based decision-making tools to enhance their businesses. However local demand for big data is still poor. Consumption of Big Data is still nascent stage in India apart from retail and healthcare. But in next one to two years Indian companies may adopt new technologies to work efficiently. Companies who are regulated industries have started using Big Data, but their biggest challenge is shortage of skill-set who can do data processing, put their analytical minds and find meaningful insights. Also challenges in Bid data will be different for Indian organizations due to its sheer population.
India based providers like Advaiya can help companies realize their Big Data dreams by helping them:
- By educating the customers about benefits of big data and how they can monetize this to increase their efficiency. This is the most important value that we can provide which is helping organizations create a vision for a big data solution.
- By providing organizations with a team approach – programmers, DBA, Analysts and consultants (i.e. combination of math, business and technology) for analyzing problem, creating meaningful data sets, processing structured and unstructured data and finding meaningful patterns.
- By creating cloud based offering. By Analyzing cloud & content usage patterns by customers will be key to building innovative cloud based offerings – thus opening up new engagement opportunities. The challenge will be ease of use and the ability to share content stored securely, safely while crisscrossing public and private clouds.
Where does social come into play? Is India big in social yet?
Organizations in India have started adopting social media for direct interactions with their customers and increasingly become social aware with presence on popular channels, some of them are deriving meaningful information on consumer trends, buying patterns, demographics but this is not tied up to big data yet in most cases.
One of the most interesting case of use of big data in social was a popular television series – Satyamev Jayate to gauge the responses of audience on various social media channels to analyze their linking and to plan future episodes.
What are the core aspects that differentiate a great Big Data services company from a mediocre one?
To differentiate a great Big Data service company from a mediocre one are:
- Talent Pool: Combinations of Business, Analytical, IT, Consulting and data skills. A team that can advise and engage customer for whole lifecycle and understand business need and create strategy and not just for data processing.
- Value Added Services: By not stating the obvious, and providing advisory services to identify the pain areas and turning insights to actionable business decisions.
What is the future of Data? Is this a passing fancy or is it here to stay?
As data will be growing every year, with inclusion of connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT), this will be going to stay. Currently Big Data technology is still in ‘embryonic’ or ‘cradle’ stage and require some years to mature. There will be changes in technologies and tools to harness this data, but this trend will stay.
Is there too much Data? Are we experiencing filter failure?
Some industry analysts as well as big data practitioners think that organizations are trying to use all of the data that is stored in their warehouse, whether it is useful or not or what question they are trying to answer? Also the other main challenge is that gathered data is accurate and clean to accumulate meaningful information (especially in case of government in developing countries). Organizations have to carefully choose datasets which are useful to avoid filter failure problem.
What technologies does a Big Data company really have to know well?
For Big Data, a company should be well aware of technologies such as Apache Hadoop, Hadoop Cluster, MapReduce engine, SQOOP and other open source technologies like, Pig, Hive, etc. It is advantageous if company can also contribute with Java Scripting language, predictive modelling and MPP architecture as Big Data use these methods, scripting and architecture. Familiarity and experiences in wide range of platforms including the cloud (AWS/Azure/etc) and data platforms (SQL, NoSQL, etc) makes a big data company really valuable.
Where do Big Data and Market Research collide? Where do they complement each other?
Doing traditional market research has its own value whether it is primary or secondary. Big Data and Market Research collide at a junction where someone has to process volume of information, variety of data (structured, unstructured, web, social media, audio, video etc.) and velocity of data – where the speed and time is essence (like on daily basis). Like in healthcare, insight into the spread of disease can be revealed by viewing Internet search terms for that disease. Big data also helps in speeding up and concluding market research. For example, it enables retailers to predict what the demand will be for new products for the next holiday season.
Big Data and Market Research also started complementing each other as marketers are finding ways to improve market research with big data assistance where volume, variety and speed of analysis is prime importance. Like linking consumer behavior pattern from social media and unstructured data to CRM or sales data.