How can businesses in the IT, telecom and media industry ready themselves for big data?

Deloitte reported that technology, media and telecoms businesses will continue to face pressure from increasing competition, further ‘digital disruption’ and technological change.

For many, these challenges won’t just come from established competitors. With lower barriers to entry and unburdened by any legacy infrastructure, new competitors that can scale operations and bring products to market faster than ever before will be a persistent challenge.

In EMC’s recent Big Data League study – a ranking of five different industry sectors based on their readiness to embrace big data – the IT, telecom and media sector demonstrated a strong understanding of the potential for big data analysis to deliver business benefits.

62% agreed that better use of customer insights and trends, plus the alignment of business models with customer requirements, are both key to unlocking the next wave of growth for their organisation. Despite this, only 30% have access to external data sets with customer information and sales data, and 38% of those questioned admitted that their current IT infrastructure was not agile enough to make use of their data to reveal trends.

>See also: Is big data dead? The rise of smart data

So what can businesses do to ready themselves for big data?

First and foremost, businesses must recruit people with the appropriate technical knowledge to ensure their company has the right data skills.  With Britain expected to create an average of 56,000 big data jobs a year until 2020, finding the right people with these skill sets will become harder as the competition increases. Interestingly the recent study revealed that 63% of respondents said they are recruiting people with data expertise and skills.

Businesses should also be able to demonstrate how data is being harnessed to make significant improvements to the business rather than just focusing on gathering market insights. A more detailed review of recent annual reports from five FTSE 100 companies in this sector revealed that when mentioning data analysis in their strategic reports, many reference the security aspects of storing customer information and ensuring they are compliant with key regulation.

Going against the grain are Sage Group and BT Group, which recognise the growing mobile trend and are working to maximise the customer insights they can derive to evolve new technology solutions for their customer base. BT Group has also implemented its own production data platform to analyse its data sets and help improve the customer experience it delivers.

Ensuring the prioritisation of data analysis will also help businesses with their readiness to embrace big data. For media companies in particular, the evolution of multi-channel advertising platforms has significantly improved the success of targeting key audiences and identifying new opportunities to up-sell and develop new services. 67% of companies in our survey said the potential to drive new revenue streams was a factor in prioritising data analysis.

However this all relies on the leadership strategy and culture of the organisation. The leadership team within these business sectors have an opportunity to revolutionise their understanding of the market, of their customers and even of their own business, to better react and predict what action they need to take to improve the chances of commercial and operational success.

But it’s not all down to the people. A business’s IT infrastructure needs to be able to adapt to market changes too, and quickly. As you’d expect for a sector that lives and dies on the capabilities of its infrastructure, just 38% of decision makers believe their IT infrastructure and operations can’t move fast enough to make better use of data.

More can still be done, however, as only 34% are able to manipulate large or complex data sets within minutes. In addition, 50% of businesses in the sector take up to three months to build data-analysis applications, marking a significant delay in being able to adjust to changes in the market.

>See also: Big data and mapping – a potent combination

As IDC states, the ICT industry is in the midst of a once every 20-25 year shift to a new technology platform to support growth and innovation; this new shift has been labelled the ‘third platform’ of computing. The third platform represents a shift in the way IT services are consumed and delivered and is creating “next generation workloads” which legacy IT infrastructure simply isn’t fast or intelligent enough to deal with at scale, cost effectively.

What’s clear is that if businesses in the IT, telecoms and media sector don’t adapt to meet with the increasing demands being placed on IT by employees and customers, then in the long term they won’t be able to compete.

The IT, telecom and media sector has some way to go before it leads the way with big data. With the next Google or Pinterest making a play to disrupt the market, companies need to capitalise on data assets, act fast and reap the rewards.


Sourced from Rob Lamb, EMC

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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