Mumbai: Cloud computing today forms a key component of most enterprises’ overall IT infrastructure, and companies are increasingly using Big Data analytics atop the cloud for greater efficiency and agility. This was the consensus among panellists who included Mukesh Kripalani, chief officer (business process transformation and IT) at Marico Ltd; Prashant Yadav, partner (management consulting) and lead (data and analytics) at KPMG; Sankarson Banerjee, chief technology officer (projects) at National Stock Exchange of India Ltd; and Vyom Upadhyay, head of analytics and business intelligence at ICICI Bank Ltd. The panel was moderated by Sanjay Gupta, national writer at Mint.

How are you using analytics in your organization?

Kripalani: We set an aspirational target for a decade and identified five transformation areas—innovation, go-to- market, talent, IT and analytics, and value management. For analytics, we adopted the Gartner framework. It starts with data at one end and goes on to decision-making and thereby action at the other end. We also deployed a data visualization tool so that the data comes visually alive. Post that, we focused on predictive analytics.

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Setting the right flows was important. We had a master data gateway and did some proofs of concept in the beginning. We also took feedback from our customers to correct any mistakes. Earlier, while we had central data, different departments used to collate data in a different fashion. With the new solution, the time needed to collate data got reduced and we were able to generate actionable insights.

What are the challenges in getting insights from data?

Sankarson: A key challenge is that people focus on the front-end part (interface of the portal) rather than collection or storage of the data. A key problem with Indian companies is that the data they collect just reinforces their opinions; they never collect data on what they do not agree with. That is where the cloud comes in. For instance, at NSE, we have been able to store the humongous amounts of data the stock market generates. The biggest challenge is, if you forget to collect historic data, then how do you regenerate it for deriving insights? Fortunately, thanks to the cloud, you can set up an account cheaply and conduct analytics experiments relatively easily and quickly.

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How do you think has the usage of analytics evolved?

Yadav: The journey started typically with business intelligence and most organizations have now jumped on to predictive analytics. There is migration to the cloud, making a lot more resources available. The cost of doing analytics has also improved significantly in the last couple of years.

What role do you see for analytics in your industry and what challenges exist?

Upadhyay: Banking is central to the service industry and analytics plays an essential role. One needs to know what the interaction points are, exactly where service failures are happening, and constantly look at data in order to serve customer needs better. As regards ICICI Bank, we have had a fully functional data warehouse for the last 10 years. The challenge is that with the technology and business landscape changing fast, we must adapt to those changes quickly.

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