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Mideast CIOs to triple investment in analytics
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 10 - 2013

EXPERTS at GITEX Technology Week's first ever Big Data Conference agree that the ability to intelligently understand and utilize Big Data will have a profound impact on innovation and competitiveness in the region. The packed Conference, supported by Diamond Sponsor Accenture, offered valuable insights on how Big Data increasingly becomes an unavoidable and compelling item at the top of the boardroom agenda. The 33rd edition of GITEX Technology Week 2013, running under the theme “Lets Create, Disrupt and Re-imagine Together”, runs until Oct. 24 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
Keynote speaker Volkmar Koch, Vice President and Partner at leading global management consulting firm Booz & Co, said: “The sheer volume of structured and unstructured data driven by digitization is calling for a host of new coping techniques, methods and analytics to effectively process and leverage. About 2.9 million emails are sent every second, 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and by the end of 2013 there will be more networked devices than people on earth. Data has now unavoidably become a topic in the boardroom, with senior executives increasingly understanding the value of data to transform their businesses and to enter into new value pools.”
Volkmar said there are three key steps to embrace Big Data: understanding how a capability-driven data strategy can help drive business performance; finding a distinct owner within the organization to accelerate data and analytics maturity; and adding new Big Data capabilities which typically include changes to the operating model, key processes and Information Technology and to identify, as well as nurture, the right talent.
“There is a pressing need to change cultures in an organization to more data-driven decision making,” he added. “Starting with a few specific opportunities to demonstrate the value of Big Data in pilots and attracting the right talent mix is key here.” In a keynote address by the Rt. Hon. Francis Maude, Minister for the UK Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, said how Big Data had transformed the policy and work of his department.
In his role, Maude has used big data for a wide variety of public sector efficiency and reforms, including helping to improve transparency and accountability of government, enhancing the efficiency of buying and managing government goods and services, and creating a digital and unified civil service.
“The first industrial revolution was based on iron, coal and steel. The industrial revolution of the 21st century will be based on data. Using data innovatively, thoroughly and rigorously can drive growth in significant way, enabling businesses to focus on what the customers want and personalize services. It is can also have an enormous impact in fields like life sciences. The scope here is absolutely enormous, but it needs to be done responsibly,” he said.
There are strong indications that Big Data competency is likely to rapidly rise in the Middle East -- with the rate of CIOs looking into investing in analytics and big data technologies growing more than tripling from only 12 percent in 2012 to more than 40 percent in 2013, according to intelligence firm IDC.
Worldwide, IDC estimates that spending on Big Data technology and services will likely grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015, representing a CAGR of 40 percent, or about seven times that of the overall ICT market.
Conference speaker Ronald Raffensperger, CTO at Huawei, said: “Data volumes are growing at an exponential rate and increasingly this data is unstructured – everything from click streams to videos to pictures to social media feeds. Organizations today are starting to realize that this data can be an important revenue-producing asset and that the creative use of this information can provide a real competitive advantage.” — SG

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