Big Data: Transforming the Information Services Data Supply Chain
Contributed by Sethuraman M.S.
The information services industry is in the middle of a data revolution. This presents opportunities to unlock new sources of economic value, take better financial risks, spot business trends sooner, and create new products.
At the same time, data abundance also creates daunting challenges across numerous dimensions when it comes to the ways and means of handling and analyzing data.
According to some estimates, 90% of the data in the world was created in the last two years, a sum greater than the amount of the data generated in the last 40 years. IDC predicts that between 2009 and 2020 digital data will grow 44 times to 35 zetabytes (ZB), adding .8ZB of data in 2020 alone. The world's leading commercial information providers deal with more than 200 million business records, refreshing them more than 1.5 million times a day to provide accurate information to a host of businesses and consumers. They source data from various organizations in over 250 countries, 100 languages and cover around 200 currencies.
Ever-changing data consumption patterns and the associated technology landscape raise data security and privacy issues as data multiplies and is shared freely ever more. The big data phenomenon threatens to break the existing data supply chain (DSC) of many information providers, particularly those whose chains are neither flexible nor scalable and include too many errorprone, manual touch points. Meanwhile, a number of new players are touting “free” information business models, supported by subscription and premium offerings, fueled by data.
How Established Information Services Companies Can Stay Competitive
Many of their existing DSC systems provide neither enough insight nor a more robust understanding of their customers and nor do they reveal how their end customers are interacting with their data. Their existing DSC is not built for handling big data and the corresponding big data analytics cannot be effectively applied and leveraged to shed light on what the data means or provide a pathway to reduce IT infrastructure costs to attain greener operations. Moreover, many information players and their existing DSC systems are not effectively leveraging social media and related opportunities to increase customer engagement, improve content quality and provide incremental value to the ecosystem.
We are in an era where we trade our data for free goods and services. Never before have consumers wielded this much power over marketers. All the data activity on the Internet, through any device, creates clicktrails, leaves digital breadcrumbs, produces data exhaust and creates metadata.
There is enough economic value in this data for an entire industry to be formed around this itself.
We will see a huge influx of companies dealing with the various aspects of data drilling, shipping, refining, drug discovery and so on.
The NextGeneration Data Supply Chain
By reengineering the existing DSC, from data sourcing through data delivery, providers can transform their ability to ingest, process and distribute content under a wide variety of new business models. The key objective is to create a next-generation DSC that:
- Optimizes operational efficiencies.
- Reduces data latency.
- Is flexible enough to accommodate new data sources.
- Is scalable enough to handle future data volumes.
- Improves data quality while dynamically meeting consumer demands.
- Explores newer monetization models with data as an asset.
- Provides faster time to market and the potential for greater revenue recognition.
The modern DSC incorporates the following phases:
- Data sourcing and collection.
- Data quality and cleansing.
- Data enrichment.
- Data management.
- Data delivery.
(For more detail on these phases, read the full version of this white paper, Big Data's Impact on the Data Supply Chain.)
The Path Ahead
Staying ahead of the curve and emerging victorious will require information services companies across industries and domains to embrace a nextgeneration DSC, selecting key elements and service delivery models to unlock productivity, seize competitive advantage and optimize the business for dynamic changes in the market. As we delve deeper to understand the architectural, infrastructural, technical and even business model implications, there is further scope for innovation.
With pressure to cut costs further while at the same time modernize, there will be an evolving need for additional models, methods, frameworks, infrastructure and techniques that allow providers to tackle a data avalanche that will only increase. Information providers should collaborate with their current or potential strategic and implementation partners to mutually explore areas in domain, products, services and technology to “wow” the end consumer.
Whether organizations expand existing architectures or start afresh by building, buying or acquiring new capabilities for a more modern and futureproof DSC, they will need to quickly make strategic decisions by carefully trading off risks and rewards that ensure coexistence with today's business constraints and tomorrow's demands for realtime, anywhere, anytime information access.
Information providers that postpone the decision to face the inevitable trends inthe information
industry as discussed in this paper will find themselves stuck with rigid legacy environments and will be eventually overtaken by forwardlooking and more innovative competitors. If the vision is to be the market leader in worldclass information and to be the consumer's preferred choice for insightful information and decisionmaking, it is high time for information players to act now.
Read the full white paper, Big Data's Impact on the Data Supply Chain (PDF) or learn more about Cognizant's Information, Media & Entertainment Practice.