INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

How can Singapore maximise big data?

Hortonworks vice president and general manager of APAC/ME Kamal Brar shares how Singapore is transforming with data.

A recent study by research firm IDC predicts that global revenue from big data and analytics will triple to US$187b in 2019 from the current US$46b. Interestingly, IDC said that the third largest revenue source for big data will be the Asia Pacific region, following Western Europe and the U.S. Big data software company Hortonworks believes that Singapore has the potential to take the lead in the region when it comes to monetising big data.

To know more about the massive potential of big data and analytics in Singapore and the rest of Asia, Singapore Business Review spoke with Kamal Brar, vice president and general manager of Hortonworks APAC/ME. He also gave insights on interesting trends, how companies can take advantage of this growing market, and how Hortonworks can help them leverage big data for a competitive advantage.

SBR: What are some of the key problems you think big data can solve in the APAC region?

I think big data has tremendous opportunity for organisations and governments in Asia. What we would typically say is that every business is a data business. So if you look at specific industries like retail, big data offers them the opportunity to capture all of the interactions that they have with their customers and create a more intimate experience with these customers.

Knowing how they interact with them socially, how they interact with them online and how they interact amongst stores with how the purchase histories are collecting all that big data together, integrating it gives them a 360 degree view of their customer and allows them to do a better job of making offers and addressing any issues that might come up. Similarly if you look at other issues such as financial services, they also will use it for a wide range of applications including things like cybersecurity. It offers them the ability to capture and look at patterns in history of usage of account and potential cyber threats.

Organisations can collect all of that data and look for patterns deep within the data. It also offers them the ability to get more intimate with their customers by collecting valuable insights across their online journey such as the way they interact online. These insights can be used to better the customer experience within their facilities, through the loans and through the banking accounts and all the other ways they might interact with their customers. These insights allows them to have a more intimate interaction with those customers.

The same can be seen in retail, manufacturing, insurance and government as well as all industries we are working with. All these different areas can benefit from using big data technologies to create new applications. They have the ability to transform a business and build new business application and create new opportunities

SBR: What trends do you see in the Asian big data industry and how is Hortonworks trying to address this opportunity?

In Asia we are seeing explosive growth across the region. The patterns mirror the early trends we saw in the US for industries like telco, financial services, retail, manufacturing and governments. All of these industries are undergoing massive transformation with data and are both renovating their existing architectures and innovating their business with the help of our technologies which help them capture data in motion and analyze data at rest. Key drivers are things like industrial IoT, real-time streaming and analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

SBR: Why is big data and analytics important for Singapore businesses?

Singapore is leading the world in many areas and government and private initiatives such as smart cities make big data technology essential to these efforts. As a hub for many companies increased efficiency and competitive advantage are core values that Singapore based companies gain from using big data technologies. In order to continue to lead they must adapt to use data to their advantage.

SBR: What is your company all about?

Hortonworks is an industry leading innovator that creates, distributes and supports enterprise-ready open data platforms and modern data applications that deliver actionable intelligence from all data: data-in-motion and data-at-rest. We are focused on driving digital transformation with our customers through innovation in open source communities such as Apache Hadoop, NiFi and Spark. With more than 1,600+ partners, we provide the expertise, training and services that allow our customers to unlock transformational value for their organizations across any line of business.

SBR: How do your products and services differ from others in the market?

In this industry, it is very common that vendors develop proprietary tools which are sold as part of enterprise-grade, Hadoop-based subscriptions.
What sets Hortonworks apart is that we don’t sell software that makes Hadoop enterprise-grade. Tools for governance, security and operations are all included in our Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP), which is 100 percent open source. Being completely open source means we spend our time contributing more code than our competitors, and this allows us to support our customers and partners like no one else can.

SBR: What do you consider your biggest milestones so far? Please tell us a bit about your success story.
Working with the sales team to identify organizations that have big data projects, and successfully empowering customers across the globe, across industries—including healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, energy, telecommunications and public sector. That is one major milestone for us.
At Hortonworks, our greatest successes come from helping our customers manage their all of their data, and in turn watching their success. Today, Companies like Mitsubishi Fuso, SoftBank, Recruit Technologies, Bloomberg, Progressive Insurance, Telefónica, Noble Energy, Symantec, Spotify, eBay and Western Digital have selected Hortonworks to extract value from all of their data. Hortonworks counts nearly 60% of U.S. Fortune 100 companies and over 25% of the Fortune Global 500 companies as customers – which speaks volumes about our own success.

SBR: What are your plans for the next 3-5 years?
The Industrial internet of things is one of the huge drivers of these technologies and leading manufacturers are already putting these technologies in place.

They can now capture and analyze all of the data that comes from their machines to look for even the smallest anomaly that might indicate that there is a problem. They can also capture data after a part or device has left the factory to analyze wear patterns, breakdowns and defects to improve their manufacturing process. This is extremely valuable for improving the overall manufacturing process.

We will continue to invest and expand in order to address the multi-billion dollar opportunity represented by big data. We focus on customer success and that is one of the reasons we have grown so fast. In fact we were the fastest growing enterprise software company to reach $100m in revenue ever! We recently opened an office in Singapore as our APAC HQ and should see significant growth going forward.

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