Transform big data into intelligence action, experts tell UAE-based CIOs

Companies should transform big data into intelligence action, use exclusive intelligence technologies and incorporate industry-leading solutions and leverage advanced analytics to stay ahead, experts said at the CIOMajlis in Dubai.

Addressing the CIOMajlis on the topic ‘Big Data and Advanced Analytics’,  Ahmed Hosny Salem, Technology Solutions Professional, Business Intelligence,  and Rima Simaan, Cloud Solutions Architect, Data Platform, both from Microsoft, said big data analytics and cloud computing are integral part of new technology transformation.

Big data and Business Analytics revenues will grow from nearly $122 billion in 2015 to over $187 billion in 2019, an increase of more than 50 per cent. However, a large proportion of companies are yet to reap the full advantage, the experts said.

CIOMajlis, an initiative by Smartworld, an Etisalat and Dubai South joint venture company, aims to contribute to realising the vision of the National Innovative Strategy with the goal of making the UAE the world’s most innovative country by 2021.

Abdulqader Obaid Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Smartworld, said: “CIOs need to be thinking differently, as they are perceived to be agents of change in an organisation’s technology ecosystem. As new technologies emerge, they should leverage big data analytics and cloud computing to derive maximum benefit for their organisations.

“Most UAE companies are in the forefront in adopting new technology to optimise their operations and stay ahead. Our CIOs know that cloud offers limitless computing power, speed, scale and saving. Their mandate is to convince their managements the benefits offered by big data analytics.”

Ahmed Al Mulla, Chairman of CIOMajlis, who is also Senior Vice President, IT, Emirates Global Aluminium, said:  “Today, technology has a lot to offer, lots of option and just people have to think how to make use of technology.  It requires lots of thinking, remodelling, out-of-the-box thinking, moving away from traditional type of applications, etc. and make different business models. Big data analytics actually helps you do that. You can base your decisions on facts, on what’s happening.  Companies are ahead today in using technology.”

“CIOs should take this seriously, look for areas in their organisations, and keep abreast of the latest technologies. CIO Majlis is a platform where they can know what’s happening around the technology world and can share and network. The net result is business outcome, not technology outcome. This is where CIOMajlis as a network helps us. We want to create a network and share information,” he added.

During the presentation, Ahmed Hosny Salem said that only 25 per cent of companies will be able to adopt or adapt to new technology and be able to stay in business, and others will be dropped out or go out of business.

“Companies have less time to adopt technology and they have bigger challenges in analysing big data.The time to adapt to disruptions is shrinking. Only 25 per cent are able to adapt, or else they will fail in ‘new industrial revolution’,” he said.

Companies are finding it much more difficult to adopt new technology. A 100 years ago, the average life span of a company listed on S&P 500 Index was 67 years, and in the 2010s the average age of a company was reduced to 15 years. And the prediction is that in the 2020s, 75 per cent of S&P 500 listed companies will be new (not on the index today), and 25 per cent of the S&P 500 will be the ones on the index today.

This means that only 25 per cent of companies will be able to adopt or adapt to new technology and be able to stay in business, and other companies will be dropped out or go out of business.

The answer is cloud computing and big data analytics. Cloud offers limitless computing power, with speed, scale and economies. It can respond quickly, can scale up and give huge amounts of savings.

For any entity or business, it is very important the transformation is based on four pillars: customers, products, employees and operations. Companies that need to stay ahead should be able to engage its customers, transform products through feedback and transforming product range, empower employees through digital transformation, and optimise operations to reduce costs.

Retail industry

Talking on technology adoption by the retail industry, Rima Simaan said intelligent cloud will be useful for optimising forecasting to react faster to customer demands. Technology can increase loyalty and share of wallet through hyper-local assortments and inventory, improve management of merchandise allocation across channels and enable forward-thinking agile pricing and promotions.

Modernise supply chain with analytics-driven operations so as to reduce time to market for new products and services and develop a more cost-effective collaborative supply chain.

As for government intelligent cloud, she said technology can be used to engage and serve citizens more effectively to increase trust, engagement and participation. This can give today’s mobile citizens secure, easy ways to connect with government with on-demand access to information and services through mobile devices and other channels.

Advance computing will also enable government organisations to gather and utilise data for impactful and actionable insights.

Meanwhile, it was informed that the CIOMajlis in November 2016 will be addressed by IDC, the industry tracker, which will benchmark IT services by analysing market, IT spending, understanding growth, etc.  IDC’s, Associate Vice President, IT Executive Programs, Middle East Region, Oliver Schaller, has sought opinions of CIOs as to what kind of benchmark they would like to have from IDC reports and urged them to send their inputs.