Big data analytics promise lures hundreds

09 Aug 2013 Newsdesk: It was standing room only at SAS Forum in Sydney, which drew the cream of the Australian and New Zealand big data crowd, eager to learn how to unlock the value of predictive analytics...


Delegates attending the SAS Forum in Sydney were warned that conventional online analytic processing (OLAP) of relational databases has now "run its course" and offered too little value. Jim Davis, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of SAS, said that the advent of in-memory analytics engines meant that, "You don't need cubes which can introduce security problems. A cube that used to take overnight to develop and process can now be replaced by in-memory processing taking four or five seconds."

He said that organisations could no longer afford to rely on outmoded reactive analytics, but needed to move to more proactive analytics both of conventional data and big data stores. He offered the example of a SAS customer in Eastern Europe which had traditionally used OLAP-style data analysis of customer information which took 8-10 hours, but was now using an in-memory approach which as achieving the same results in about 90 seconds.

It was this ability to analyse data that was where the value for enterprises lay he said.

"We call this big analytics which is much more important than big data," said Davis.

He said that by creating an in memory analytics server SAS tools could now process a billion rows of data in less than 10 seconds, and then push the results of that analysis out to users able to apply those insights, using a visualisation tool.

Speaking at a business panel at the event Michael Harte, CIO of Commonwealth Bank, said that the biggest challenge and opportunity of analytics and big data was that it was now possible to "hyper-specialise" a product offering or service for an individual customer.

Speakers agreed that early adopters of analytics would secure a competitive advantage.

Companies which were not able to match the level of data analytics that their competitors managed would find themselves in a "whole heap of trouble," according to David Kirk, chairman of The Hoyts Group and Trade Me.

Asked whether boards understood the need to invest in analytics as a matter of urgency, Australian business luminary David Mortimer acknowledged that;" A lot of the boards have been burned by bad investments in IT. But the smart board will recognise an opportunity if well presented...and it is hard to go past information."

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