Why Big Data is still a long shot in India?

Jun 13, 2013 10:00:00 AM

Indian IT sector is playing a key role in inferring and analyzing big data for global corporates in the developed economies.

Experts | by Rahul Kanodia

Rahul Kanodia, vice chairman & CEO, Datamatics Global Services Limited

People frequently ask me as to what do I feel about the potential of big data in India. The potential is huge indeed. However, it is subject to the changes in our behavioral patterns and social norms.

The need to capture, store and analyze data is closely intertwined to the basic urge of documenting and 'learning from the past'. If you look at the developed continents like Europe and North America, one can witness a culture that promotes and values structured data - be it in terms of applications for utilities or customized shopping services or in simply paying the parking bills.

The very premise that every decision should be supported by structured and reliable data serves as the core motivation of corporates and government initiatives relating to popularity of big data. In India, however, owing to the second largest population, we sit on a data gold mine. Sadly, I feel that our inability to capture, store and process data in a structured form is a challenge that seems to be highly difficult to overcome in the short to medium term.

I feel the biggest drawback of us as a society is that we do not value data and feel appalled when asked to follow a code; even if it is based on proven inferences.

On the flip side, Indian IT sector is playing a key role in inferring and analyzing big data for global corporates in the developed economies. This represents a paradox, of being among the world-class data analysts, yet not getting to use the skills to our advantage at the home front. I feel that with time, this paradox is expected to constrict, which will lead to improved market for big data in India. Till that happens, we and companies like us, would continue to focus on developed markets.

So the next question that comes into our minds is when India will truly ride the big data bandwagon? Big data as we know it today, did not appear suddenly. It took considerable time in reaching to the size, as we know it today. For six centuries, the Chinese encyclopedia reigned supreme, only to be overtaken by Wikipedia in 2007! The emails paved way for voice messages, videos, streamed content in the digital space. If Internet became the world that we know today, big data tools resemble the need to maintain libraries and archives.

And undoubtedly, one learns a lot from the past. India, owing to the e-Governance initiatives, has already embarked on a digitization drive, converting the manual data. The next initiative would be to link/connect a large part of India through affordable Internet. This will lead to improved exchange of views and generation of data. This data, upon efficient capturing would then be used for analysis and drawing inferences. The inferences will play a valuable role in taking informed decisions by not only the corporates but the government also.

The process, when repeated consistently, will lead to growth in big data. Currently, India accounts for 2.5 per cent of the global big data market of $8 billion and is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2015. I feel if the initiatives are taken seriously, then we can surpass that mark faster, given the potential in India.

Like all tier 1 and 2 IT companies in India, we at Datamatics are also gearing for the impending growth. By doing what we do best - by serving global clientele across the value chain - from data to information. We do not only offer services to capture and store data but also the products that manage and analyze data customized to the needs of our clients. We believe that the Indian adaptation to the big data will be led by the global companies and being a reputed solutions provider to a wide clientele including Fortune 500 companies, would enable us capitalize upon the opportunity when it arrives.

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