KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) — Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, has partnered with Malaysian data technology provider Fusionex to provide end-to-end cloud solutions in Southeast Asian countries.
Both parties announced the partnership Tuesday that under the partnership, Fusionex will deploy its big data solutions on Alibaba Cloud’s infrastructure, and will also become the later’s key go-to-market partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.
The two companies will also join forces in driving innovation in Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Internet of Things and Articical Intelligence.
Alibaba Cloud’s chief executive officer Simon Hu said that Malaysia is a starting point for the partnership, and the group hopes to expand it to the entire ASEAN region.
Ivan Teh, who also sees tremendous opportunity in ASEAN digital market said Malaysia will be the hub for the regional digital transformation.
“We have not set a timeline for the partnership, but we are looking forward to a long term relationship with Alibaba Cloud,” he added. https://about.me/ivanteh
The analytics solution, known as Fusionex GIANT, allows companies to have a holistic view of its business operations, understand trends, buyers behavior, and even predict outcomes.
April 10, 2018 —
FUSIONEX International Plc, a big data analytics solutions provider, believes that its new big data analytics solution can help the company to win more clients and gain market share.
The analytics solution, known as Fusionex GIANT, allows companies to have a holistic view of its business operations, understand trends, buyers behavior, and even predict outcomes. Unlike larger big data companies from the US or Europe, the company’s big data solutions are more user-friendly and easier to deploy.
“Our solutions may not be as powerful as some of our rivals’, but it has the features and characteristics that meets the needs of the chief executive officer, the chief information officer, and chief financial officer,” Fusionex founder Ivan Teh told Digital News Asia recently.
“Today, CEOs want a fast-to-deploy big data solutions, they can’t wait 18 months or more for the implementation. CIOs and CFOs want a solutions that are easy to manage, easy to use, and does not cost a lot to maintain.”
According to Teh, the new GIANT, dubbed the Fusionex GIANT 2017, is far more superior than the predecessor. He said that it is now able to make sense of trillions of data sets — making it a suitable tool for banks, stockbroking firms, hotel chains, manufacturers and others.
Like the previous version, the GIANT allows users to get key insights by just ‘drag-and-drop’. For example, dragging the company’s sales data and customers data could allow the company to find out which particular products are more popular among the young working adults.
“More importantly, the new GIANT allows user to get insights in the easiest way possible — by talking to it. The new GIANT comes with a natural language processing (NLP) capability that will perform various tasks. For example, you simply only need to tell it to show you sales number, or sales number based on region, and those data will be produced immediately,” said Teh.
“Gone are the days when you need days or weeks to generate a report.”
Penetrating the SMEs
The company also introduced its first big data analytics solutions catered to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The product, dubbed ANT, is the “mini-version” of the GIANT. It has most of the features SMEs need when comes to making sense of their data.
“For a long time, the SME market has been underserved. It also has most of the features that SMEs are looking for.
Expecting strong response
In late 2016, Fusionex invited 10 companies to take part in the pilot run of the Fusionex GIANT 2017. From the 10 companies, 8 of them have already signed up for the solution.
“Our vision has always been to create innovative technology that meets the business needs of today’s market. Innovation drives growth and we strongly believe Fusionex GIANT 2017 is the answer to an IoT driven world that is in constant need of better, faster, cost optimised and commercially-feasible technology,” said Teh.
“Analytics can help bridge the gap between business and consumer needs and we are ready to assist our customers to stand above their competition.”
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IDC MarketScape has recognised Fusionex as a ‘Major Player’ in an IDC report.
The first ever IDC MarketScape for Asia/Pacific Big Data and Analytics Platform 2017 Vendor Assessment report assesses the big data and analytics solutions available in the market among global vendors present in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and identifies their strengths and challenges.
Fusionex, a data technology provider specialising in big data analytics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, is the only ASEAN originating company listed in the IDC MarketScape report.
Each brand was evaluated based on their big data and analytics solutions, ranging from big data management, integration platforms, and analytics tools to cognitive/AI software capabilities.
Fusionex international CEO Ivan Teh says, “It is an honour for Fusionex to be acknowledged in the IDC MarketScape report as a Major Player for Asia Pacific big data analytics and data technology solutions.”
The report states that “Fusionex has better operations in, and a better understanding of, Southeast Asia compared with many other vendors in the region. It also has a strong grip on the operational needs of the retail and manufacturing sectors in this region.”
According to IDC the research “provides an analysis of each vendor within areas of solution utilisation, solution ubiquity and solution intelligence and how they can help organisations stay focused on core capabilities, including performance, governance, usability, localisation, and customisation as well as be prepared to foray into leveraging their data for increased utilisation, ubiquity and intelligence.”
The competition for this title is high and the margins between ‘Major Players’ and ‘Leaders’ are narrow, and with the rapid evolution of big data analytics technology organisations will need to stay sharp in order to maintain their place within their category.
“Today, data management and analytics have become a necessity in any industry – not just to thrive but also to remain relevant as well as to survive,” Teh adds.
“Fusionex GIANT’s humanised visualisation and powerful engine enables anyone, from business analysts, IT professionals, data scientists, and C-level executives, to unearth insights from their data. Essentially our technology puts the power of analytics and insights into the hands of our customers without over-complicating matters. We will continue to invest in various avenues to help more organisations across the region and the world benefit from the adoption of Big Data Analytics. We want to help enable companies to become data-driven organisations, where they can process and analyse data at speed and at scale for a better tomorrow.”
Here is a big question: How big is big data? Is it as big as the 2016 gross domestic product of Bahrain (US$31.8 billion)? Or Costa Rica (US$57.4 billion)? Or Qatar (US$152.4 billion)? Or Bangladesh (US$221.4 billion)?
Incidentally, Malaysia’s GDP was US$296.3 billion while Singapore’s was US$269.9 billion, as per the World Bank’s estimates.
So, the big answer: It depends who you ask.
According to Hamburg, Germany-based Statista, the global market for big data was worth just under US$34 billion last year, closer to the 2016 GDP of Bahrain. However, by 2026, the global big data market is likely to jump to US$92.2 billion, just below Ukraine’s 2016 GDP of US$93.2 billion.
Another agency, Wikibon, notes that the global big data market is on track to grow from US$18.3 billion in 2014 to a whopping US$92.2 billion by 2026, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4%. Wikibon is a global community of consultants who believe technology adoption can be improved through an open-source sharing of free advisory knowledge.
The most bullish outlook comes from International Data Corp. Last March, IDC updated its Worldwide Semiannual BDA (Big Data & Analytics) Spending Guide, which stated that the global BDA spend would reach US$150.8 billion in 2017 (equal to Qatar’s 2016 GDP), up 12.4% from the previous year. Commercial purchases of BDA-related hardware, software and services are set to grow at a 12% annual clip between now and 2020, with sales crossing the US$210 billion mark (Bangladesh’s 2016 GDP) by then.
The devil is in the details, or more precisely, in the definition. Gartner defines BDA or “advanced analytics” as the autonomous or semi-autonomous examination of data or content using sophisticated techniques and tools, typically beyond those of traditional business intelligence.
BDA helps one to discover deeper insights, make predictions or generate recommendations. Gartner’s definition includes data and text mining, machine learning, pattern matching, forecasting, visualisation, semantic analysis, sentiment analysis, network and cluster analysis, multivariate statistics, graph analysis, simulation, complex event processing and neural networks.
IDC defines BDA as a new generation of technologies and architectures designed to extract value economically from very large volumes of a wide variety of data by enabling high-velocity capture, discovery, and analysis. IDC’s definition also includes the hardware that powers BDA solutions.
“After years of traversing the adoption curve, big data and business analytics solutions have finally hit mainstream,” says Dan Vesset, IDC’s group vice-president for analytics and information management.
“BDA as an enabler of decision support and decision automation is now firmly on the radar screens of top executives. This category of solutions is also one of the key pillars of enabling digital transformation efforts across industries and business processes globally.”
Which sectors will lead in BDA? Four of them: BFSI — banking, financial services and insurance; manufacturing (discrete and process); government (especially taxation, internal/external security and law and order); and professional services (such as hospitality, accounting and auditing). These sectors would have spent US$72.4 billion on BDA solutions as at end-2017.
“They will also be the largest spenders in 2020 when their total investments on BDA exceed US$101 billion. The fastest growth in BDA spend will come from banking (CAGR: 13.3%), followed by healthcare, insurance, securities and investment services, and telecommunications, each with a CAGR of 12.8%,” says IDC.
Jessica Goepfert, IDC’s programme director for customer insights and analysis, says that outside of financial services, several other industries present compelling opportunities. “Within telecoms, for instance, BDA is applied to help retain and gain new customers as well as for network capacity planning and optimisation.”
How about the media? “The media industry has been plagued by massive disruption in recent years, thanks to the digitisation and massive consumption of content. BDA can help firms make sense of and monitor their readers’ habits, preferences and sentiment,” says Goepfert.
What’s Malaysia doing in the BDA space? “BDA is no longer uncommon in Malaysia and many organisations have begun their big data journey. The BDA market for software solutions alone is set to top RM595 million by 2021, up 10.9% from 2016. Between 2016 and 2021, Malaysia’s CAGR will be 8.8%, which is good,” says IDC.
But it can be better. “By using analytics capabilities, organisations can run their business operations better, improve the overall customer experience and expand their product and service offerings by increasing their competitive advantage. Organisations in Malaysia have started to prioritise analytics solutions. C-level executives are constantly seeking intelligent solutions to convert raw data into meaningful information to make strategic decisions in their businesses,” says Ng Quan Xiong, IDC software market analyst for Malaysia.
The early adopters are small and medium enterprises as well as those in traditional manufacturing. “I am amazed at the level of big data adoption by start-ups such as ServisHero and iFlix. Among large businesses, Top Glove Corp Bhd has taken the leap of faith by using BDA to enhance output,”
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) CEO Yasmin Mahmood said at Big Data Week Asia in October last year.
Top Glove is listed on both Bursa Malaysia’s Main Market and the Singapore Exchange’s Mainboard. It is the world’s largest rubber glove manufacturer and has 2,000 customers in 195 countries. The company worked with a Malaysia-based big data firm on a BDA solution that uses sensors to monitor the mixture in rubber production, automating what was previously a manual process.
IDC thinks visual analytics is a rising BDA application in the country. “Visual analytics, which has great potential to impact business processes, is taking the lead in Malaysia because of its functionalities to support the analytic workflow, provide immediate access to readily consume analytics and enable non-IT staff to analyse, visualise, share and review data,” says IDC’s Ng.
So where’s the crunch? Talent, or the lack of it. That is not a Malaysia problem per se, but a global one.
The McKinsey Global Institute quantified way back in 2011 that the US alone would be short of 140,000 to 190,000 data scientists — or people with “deep analytical skills” — by 2018. That forecast has been grossly underestimated. Now, McKinsey forecasts that millions of people will be needed to serve as translators of the results of the work of data scientists to the rest of the organisation.
“It may be easier for domain experts, with deep knowledge of the business in which they are engaged and the requisite interpersonal skills, to obtain sufficient knowledge about data analysis to act as the translator for data scientists. That is compared with data scientists trying to gain enough knowledge about the domain, especially the language of that domain,” Forbes magazine quoted The Sloan Management Review’s report as saying.
In other words, it will be easier for healthcare professionals, for example, to learn about data analytics than it is for data engineers or software developers to grasp the complex and intricate world of medicine or genetics.
What’s Malaysia doing to address the talent crunch? The government has set up a unique public-private partnership (PPP) initiative called the Data Star programme. This is a data science finishing school designed to fast-track the development of world-class data professionals. It is a joint effort of MDEC and Asean Data Analytics eXchange. The goal: help Malaysia churn out 20,000 data professionals by 2020.
The goal is ambitious, the demand is huge and the market stretches far beyond Malaysia. The US is — and will continue to be — the largest BDA market, with a market size of more than US$80 billion this year. The second largest region will be Western Europe, with a BDA spend of US$35 billion, followed by Asia-Pacific ex-Japan at US$14 billion. IDC estimates that Latin America and Asia-Pacific ex-Japan will see the fastest growth in BDA spend, with five-year CAGRs of 16.2% and 14.4% respectively.
From an end user perspective, very large businesses (those with more than 1,000 employees) will be the biggest BDA spenders. They will cumulatively spend US$100 billion on BDA this year, accounting for up to 60% of all BDA spend, says IDC. SMEs, especially those with fewer than 500 employees, will account for 25% of the global BDA spend this year. That is a huge opportunity.
Can Malaysia take advantage of this? For Malaysia to be a BDA hub, it needs not only to churn out trained talent as fast as possible but also kick-start a number of BDA proofs-of-concept. PoCs help companies and individuals experiment and fail, and in the process, learn to understand, clean, assimilate, analyse and deal with huge swathes of data, both from structured sources (such as databases) and unstructured sources (such as photographs, email, social media feeds, video streams and weather and traffic data).
The big BDA wars will be fought by countries such as China, India, Russia, Brazil and the Philippines. They are also out to groom talent, conduct PoCs and encourage local companies to innovate in the BDA space.
A few killer applications could potentially tip the scales in niche BDA spaces. Malaysia has more than 25 multinational corporations as well as innovative local players already working on key BDA applications.
The bottom line for Malaysia: More start-ups need to blossom, more opportunities need to open and more PoCs need to pop up. The PPP could be the perfect platform for piloting performance.