The big data phenomenon, having already engulfed the west in its awe, is now moving towards the other parts of the planet. It especially seems to be gathering a lot of momentum in Asia and Europe, merely starting from people referring to it as the ‘next big thing’, to companies that are spending huge resources on building their big data capabilities to tap on the emerging trend.
In November last year, Germany saw it’s first dedicated big data event – Big Data Forum Germany.
It’s interesting to note how corporates are dealing with this emerging trend. A paper based on the findings of IDC’s survey of IT and Business Intelligence professionals across 150 German companies, highlights some important facts regarding adoption and expectations of big data by enterprises. Below are some of the insights:
– More than 40% of the respondents anticipate big data analytics to lead to better risk management, product development, enhanced customer service and IT analytics.
– Nearly 51% of the respondents classify volumes between 100 terabytes to 1 peta-byte as ‘big’ data.
– 37% of the companies are using the services of an external vendor for big data analytics – which they feel contributes to their agility while dealing with new technological developments in the field.
– 61% of the respondents expect big data analytics to lead to cost savings in business processes, while another 57% expect cost savings in terms of IT resources.
– However, as much as around 40% have reservations owing to privacy and safety concerns.
The manifestations of such a sentiment is reflected in the changing vision of German companies such as adidas, that anticipates consumer-generated insights to drive marketing and design in the future. The adidas group is also a part of the EU-funded consortium of universities and research groups called Large-Scale Elastic Architecture for Data as a Service (LEADS). This initiative aims to push new ideas rapidly and effectively to the scientific community and large companies like adidas. Other members of this consortium include RedHat, Aoterra, University of Dresden and University of Neuchâtel.
It’s obvious that multinationals such as adidas, Deutsche Telekom (recently partnered with Cloudera) and Payback, are at the forefront of the data revolution in the country, probably due to the sharing of best practices among geographies. But even government-funded organisations such as The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and non-profit Open Knowledge Foundation Germany have partnered with corporations such as Siemens and AGT International in an initiative called the Big Project.
This project which is backed by EU aims to identify new technologies for data analysis and implementing strategies for commercial benefit.
The project’s website identifies it’s mission as :
“Building a self-sustainable Industrial community around Big Data in Europe:
- Technical level establishing the proper channel to gather information
- Industrial-led initiative to influence adequately the decision takers
- Promote adoption of earlier waves of big data technology
- Adequately tackle the existing barriers as policy and regulation issues”
Though the results of these efforts are also largely dependent on a conducive investment environment provided by the German government to the (largely risk-averse) business community.
A clear regulations framework regarding the use of data is necessary, one that addresses concerns such as – who can collect what data? what they can do with that data? and whether the customer can decide the level of their data that is shared. The answers to such concerns will go a long way in addressing the privacy concerns at the individual level and building the right platform for big data in Germany. Germany can fill the necessary gaps working closely with EU, which is clearly in the favor of development of big data in the continent.
Do you think big data in Germany is leading to a ‘big’ hype or a ‘big’ boon? Let’s hear your thoughts.
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