The most recent sectoral Analysis regarding the implementation of ICT in Spanish companies which was published by the Ministry of Economy and Business in 2017, revealed that only 8.2% of micro-enterprises and 26.2% of S&MEs and large companies have used Big Data and Data Analytics. These percentages reflect a considerable lack of awareness as to the advantages that these technologies can offer for improving internal processes.
Normally when we talk about Big Data, we understand it as being the use of extremely large groups of complex (unstructured) data which come from a wide range of sources, or, in other words, the now famous four V’s of Big Data: Volume, Velocity, Variety and Veracity amongst others. However, limiting ourselves to this definition of Big Data, without focusing on the combination of different technologies (Data lakes, NoSQL storage, Predictive Analysis, Artificial Intelligence, Edge Computing, etc.) which make it possible for information to be extracted in an extremely quick manner, would be an error.
Data Analytics could be defined as automated data consultation and aggregation processes through which data sets are transformed into valuable information. The data analysis techniques allow for trends, metrics and KPIs -which would otherwise be lost amongst the information silos- to be revealed. Data analytics involves a range of different processes including data extraction and categorization which allow for the patterns, relationships and connections which exist between this data to be analysed. By using data analytics, companies are able to improve their corporate strategies on the basis of past learned knowledge.
Big Data and Data Analytics solutions offer companies the possibility, not only to manage their data, but also to obtain valuable information which enables them to improve all types of procedures in a way that they were previously unable to do so, and in fact, it is in the financial services, advertising and retail sectors that these solutions are really making their mark. For example, by using Big Data, a company is able to keep ahead of a client or supplier’s demands by analysing their transaction records, and in doing so, they are able to adapt their processes, optimise their available stock, and most importantly, become more productive and agile when offering their services.
By implementing solutions such as Big Data and Data Analytics it is possible for all types of companies to obtain a competitive advantage, as by using this information they are able to offer services and products which are tailored to the specific needs of their clients, and likewise it can also be used to make potential market studies, as well as to estimate revenue, even at each specific point of sale.
Thanks to a considerable reduction in the storage and computational costs, all companies are now able to access these technologies which were previously only within the reach of large companies who possessed Petabytes and Exabytes of information. By investing in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics tools which are adapted to their particular circumstances, S&MEs are managing to close this gap.
In conclusion, companies must continue to adapt their technological capacity by making use of these technologies in order to better position themselves in the market by using the competitive advantage that Data Analytics and Big Data offer them to introduce innovative solutions.
Although the annual growth in the usage of Big Data and Data Analytics technology amongst Spanish S&MEs is slow (Approximately 2% annually), it is estimated that by 2025, 25% of companies will have implemented these systems to improve their processes and this will increase to almost 50% in the case of companies in the ICT sector.
Gonzalo Blázquez Gil, Phd.
R&D Software Engineer.