Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sailing in Data Tsunami - Part II

There was an interesting article on Open Source business models in ReadWriteWeb the had the following observation. Don't misss the presentation that discusses the topic in great detail. The article summarizes the different generations of computing and dives into detail on current generation.

"First Generation (IBM) "The money is in the hardware, not the software"
Second Generation (MSFT) "Actually, the money is in the software"
Third Generation (GOOG) "The money is not in the software, but it is differentiating"
Fourth Generation (Facebook/Twitter) "Software is not even differentiating, the value is the data" "

As we discussed in the last post, the age of Data is upon us. And competitive advantage would be gained by those who can extract unique value out of Big Data!.

One of the biggest advantages of Web 2.0/Free/Open Source Software is that it encourages end users to experiment with an open mind. When people approach with an open mind, it leads to generation of data - be it blogs, wikis, discussion forums, bookmarks. And then waves of data starts to wade through the shores of Internet all over!. People who have the skills to swim, sail through, fish around and find Pearls in the Ocean of Data are the Winners!. We saw some fine examples in the previous post. Am sure there are tons of other companies who are experimenting with Big Data Analytics in various sectors.

There are different companies taking different routes to gain the maximum advantage!. For example, while Google takes the keyword search approach for data analytics, Facebook approaches via User-Centric/Social Networking. Its interesting to see stories doing rounds on Google Vs Facebook on various sites. To me, the best is yet to happen in Targeted Advertising Technology. I firmly believe Facebook has the key and it has just not cracked it yet. And that's the biggest boon and bane for Google right now. Unless Google comes up with a breakthrough service that would outdo Facebook in near future in targeted advertising, Google would be under threat.

That's on the Open World. In the corporate world, the challenge is to generate and ensure continuous data flow that would be of value to various stakeholders. And that still remains a huge challenge and a great opportunity considering security/risk/data quality/cultural concerns within the corporate firewalls. Synonymous to Internet world, Corporates who succeed in generating useful data and extract insightful information from them would be creators of new business models in future!.

Sailing in Data Tsunami - Part I

It was interesting to watch developments at Google in the last couple of weeks. Recently, Google released an offering that is exclusively targeted for Small and Medium Enterprises in India called - Google Global MarketFinder. The tool is designed to help those indian businesses reach Global markets. When I read this statement - I said 'Wow!' what a valuable initiative by Google!. I was also curious to understand how exactly Google implements this service to its audience.

Google basically achieves the purpose by matching the demand from Global markets to Supply from Indian Small/Medium Businesses. During the course of mediating the connections, it also helps to overcome the complexities in International markets (e.g. currencies/languages). Google does all of these by connecting the 'keywords' that are being offered by the Indian businesses to 'keywords' that are being searched by overseas markets. I myself tried using the tool for certain products like coffee, Google's response was almost immediate with list of countries that has the maximum demand and offer price as well.

Its amazing to see how a simple keyword search can be a biggest influencer in International business. When this service gets traction among the businesses, what is going to happen?. Google is going to accumulate more and more data, in terms of what products/services are being imported/exported in which countries. And Google for sure can perform analytics on top of those data. It doesn't matter how Google would use those analytic insights in their future offerings. But, it would certainly influence their Ad Sense business to fine tune and optimize their advertisements for targeted segments. Google can also price the most wanted keywords in suitable regions/countries at a premium price. I see that's the power of Data!.

In the second offering, it sounds casual - not as serious as the first one!. Google Correlate - It aims to find search queries that has similar patterns over a time series. For example, if we search for 'Swine flu' keyword in correlate, it can get correlated with other keywords such as 'Sore Throat'. In this example, it indicates, Sore Throat has been associated with Swine Flu and both searches have occured in the same time series. This tool can generate interesting perspectives to different data sets. Don't forget to check out the comic book in the website that explains the tool.

I strongly believe the core competence of next generation enterprises is going to be the ability to manage and generate useful insights out of large amount of data sets!. The market developments confirm this inference to a large extent. Today, Google has acquired the social analytics company called PostRank - that has the capability to perform analytics on blogs/wikis/RSS/forums, etc.

More on this topic in next post ...