Big Data: Size Does Matter

We are living in a datadriven world where many
key decisions are made
based on data analytics.


ig data is a term used to
describe the exponential
growth and availability of
data, both structured and
unstructured. And big data
may be as important to business – and society – as the
world wide web has become over the decades.
Big data analytics (BDA), meanwhile, is
the process of examining large amounts of
data to uncover hidden patterns, unknown
correlations and other useful information.
Such information can provide competitive
advantages over rival organisations and result
in business benefits, such as more effective
marketing and increased revenue.
It can also provide large-scale social impact
if harnessed wisely.
“Big data consists of structured data,
which are from conventional databases,
and unstructured ones that are from social
media, geospatial, images, audio and video,”
says Ir. Dr. Karl Ng, Director of Innovation
Capital, Malaysia’s Multimedia Development
Corporation (MDeC).
“The difference between Big data and
BDA is that Big data is pure information
whereas BDA is about performing analytics
and visualisation using the information. The
power of BDA lies in being able to perform
predictive analytics (what will happen) and
prescription analytics (what do we do about
it). That’s the major difference between BDA
and your usual Business Intelligence.”
Is BDA just a technology proposition?
Obviously no, says Karl Ng.
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“It is not about technology. It is an investment by businesses where data is used to
solve a variety of issues as well as to be able
to forecast and predict outcomes, all of which
can increase the organisation’s profits and
reduce its costs.”
New business models can even be derived
since BDA has the potential to give you novel
insights that you may have never thought of
previously. On the other hand, the government can use BDA to reduce administrative
cost by being more efficient and improve
service delivery. It can use BDA to perform
socially-impactful initiatives towards crime
and disease prevention and reduction.
The reasons are very compelling for Malaysian tech industry to focus on this segment.
He says: “Imagine this … about 90% of the
world’s data today was generated in the last
two years! We are living in a data-driven world
where many key decisions are made based on
data analytics. The United States and Europe
has seen tremendous benefits in BDA, both on
the government and industry fronts. Clearly,
Malaysia needs BDA to remain competitive.”

The last couple of years were somewhat a
“wait and see” era, where the focus had been
on creating an awareness on the potential
and value of Big Data to one’s business, says
Fusionex International CEO Ivan Teh.
Listed on the London Stock Exchange,
Fusionex helps its customers manage, make
sense of and derive useful insights and information from the vast amounts of structured

By: Simon Vella

and unstructured data at their disposal.
Fusionex’s Big Data Analytics software,
GIANT, is the first Big Data software of its
level of comprehensiveness ever developed
by a software company in Asia. Fusionex
GIANT has received very positive reviews to
date from clients adopting it and was featured
in a White Paper published by IDC in June.
Fusionex is heavily involved in big data
initiatives across the region and is also an
invited member of the Malaysian Government
Big Data Analytics Advisory Panel, where
the panel’s responsibilities include that of
assisting the Malaysian Government in the
development of its National Big Data Analytics
Framework & blueprint.
Ivan says: “Right now we are at a stage
where forward thinking organisations have
achieved a degree of maturity and where
many are at an ‘incubation’ stage. We see
may companies beginning to embark on big
data initiatives and pilot programmes, albeit
some at a smaller scale, to ‘test and navigate
the waters’ and to define a roadmap centred
around big data where business value can
be reaped.
“BDA is definitely an area of immense
potential where we see companies thriving
and leveraging on Big Data Analytics to drive
their companies to greater heights.”
In other words, it is not a matter of if big
data will live up to its potential but rather a
matter of when Big Data Analytics becomes
mainstream, he stresses.

The need to collect, store, process and analyse
data to derive insights and actionable items
really applies to any industry verticals.
Ivan says: “For FusionEx, there is no particular industry or business segment that we
would single out. That said, our observation
is that some of industries appear to be more
receptive at this point in time, while others
seem to be slightly slower in embracing it.”
Certain industries include, but are not
limited to, financial services, retail, FMCG,
travel and hospitality, logistics, utilities and
natural resources seem to have a slightly faster
adoption rate for Big Data technology.
A recent case study with a FusionEx client
from the retail sector revealed interesting
findings pertaining to the correlation of its
sales data, campaign programmes, marketing

“It helps in price watch too – by keep inflation in check by predicting future price of essential items and taking proactive action. talent. resulting in superior customer insights and analytics. We aspire to have ICT contribute 17% to the GDP by 2020. They used our system to execute this in an automated manner. the whole audience size was refined based on their recent activities and it started to deliver proven results with some of them achieved as much as 300% ad improvement. increase sales with focus groups and targeted marketing. BDA is a journey. The startup aspires to improve advertising performance and is developing advertising solution (for Facebook. With the analysis. data stewards. which is a very powerful mechanism.” A successful national BDA initiative will affect each and every Malaysian. spend with regional weather and social media feedback. conversions and sales – which essentially improve their Return on Investment (ROI) from online advertising. The big data need to become smart data.” says: “Social media platform involves millions of data being produces and consumed on daily basis and having BDA will help businesses to understand and evaluate the available data to improve their commercial decision making – especially for marketing budget and effort needed to attain better performance. They used our system to understand trends and patterns so that they could better market their products. Google Ads and other social media ad platforms) that can help advertisers to double up their leads.Karl Ng … The Government has given MDeC the mandate to lead the Digital Transformation Programme.” He adds that FIAT was born out of a real business need. namely healthcare. “Another interesting case study was where a financial institution client of ours was able to monitor and make sense of social sentiments and relate this to customer satisfaction as well as key areas of improvements. cost reduction and job creation. which is called Digital Malaysia. The client also utilises its predictive analytics system to forecast potential sales and revenue. we are confident that BDA will contribute significantly to the national digital economy. information managers. randomly targeting teenagers from Malaysia to sell smart phones can be extremely huge time & money consuming task if it were to be done without having solid research. which not only will empower us to find out what is happening but also to find the cause for the occurrence. he adds. PUTTING MALAYSIA ON MAP These clear potentials have compelled MDeC to set its sights in this growing segment and put Malaysia on the forefront in this region. Another example where a client derived significant value was where FusionEx used its BDA system for a business that offers automated systems designed to optimise building management. for example. it may be able to reduce spread of diseases by being able to predict future hotspots. We will surely need data scientists. visualisation designers – in many sectors. For example. it will have a very big impact as. “We realised that more and more companies were moving away from Facebook ads due to lack of ROI. We built our own advertising pattern and algorithm that helped to understand that the ads are not reaching the right audience through the traditional mechanism. the client was able to help its customers reduce waste and cost and was able to cut energy consumption by more than 20%. “As mentioned earlier.” “Therefore we decided to find the root cause and started to use the BDA to help us in our mission. telcos. Mugilan … Founder of Golden Gorillas – an online advertising solutions startup based in Malaysia. Ivan explains further: “By analysing data captured from various types of machinery (machine-to-machine data). FireFlyz | 15 . “The economic benefits are crystal clear– as it paves way for more competitive organisations. “The Government has given MDeC the mandate to lead the Digital Transformation Programme. banking & finance and retail. but what if the BDA can help us to analyse and provide a pattern of a Facebook user who have been consistently talking about getting a smart over the past few days? “That’s where FIAT comes in to do the BDA and help advertisers target better audience for their ads inside Facebook. In the process of doing so they were able to attract and better retain their customers. With the right enablers in place such as policy. manufacturing. FIAT is being provided mainly as platformas-a-service cloud solution for Facebook advertisers. Its GIANT big data software was featured in a White Paper published by IDC in June. Twitter. a multi-award winning IT company with a global presence.” Clearly. funding and technology. help a business to move ahead in the industry. Its founder and CEO Mugilan Chitambram Ivan Teh … CEO of Fusionex. One good example of such startup is Golden Gorillas – an online advertising solutions provider based in Malaysia. Mugilan says: “Understanding the volume of data in Facebook is essential for businesses mainly relying on Facebook marketing for their advertising campaigns. such as like stockpiling. Same applies for crime prevention – as authorities will be able to ‘know’ where crime will most likely happen in future and deploy resources there accordingly. increased profits. we have seen the tremendous benefits BDA has offered to countries with a head start in it. Socially too.” A recent product developed by his company is Facebook Intelligent Audience Targeting (FIAT) that provides a platform for advertisers to run analysis in Facebook to find their target market based on their daily activities. The client leverages on BDA to build a strong competitive advantage by making marketing decisions tied to the findings of the system that it deployed. and organisations who do this well will be able make a great difference and achieve a huge competitive edge. It was a personal experience for me as well when advert optimisation still fails to maximise the ROI. says Karl Ng.” Capturing and storing data alone will not STARTUPS JOIN THE RACE The time is also ripe for many startups companies to join in this BDA revolution.