There is a lot of hype being generated by big data, and this is deservedly so. So many industries are experiencing change, diverse changes thanks to data. People, companies, markets and industries need to know that there is no way we can do without big data. This is a concept whose time has come, and we have to embrace it.
There are some important questions that we need to think about, considering the prospects of big data in Africa. These questions form the guideline for venturing into a world where you are up to date with the tech that drives the economy:
- When do I need big data?
- How can I prepare for big data?
- Which is the best way to utilize such data?
- What is my organization doing with this data?
While most people are just opening up to big data, the impact and potential that it has in Africa is incredible. Here is a brief analysis of some of the issues that we can look forward to over the next coming years.
The emergence of new threats
A recent study indicated that 65% of kids starting school today will be working in jobs that have not even been created yet. This means there is an uncharted territory, lots of uncertainty ahead. One thing that is for sure, is that life has to go on.
With the prospect of big data in Africa, and the increasing interest in Africa for development and economic purposes, there will be competitive threats coming up from time to time. Most of these threats are external.
We are looking at a situation where organizations that might not even have been related to your business in the first place, organizations that you never would have imagined competing against you, might in fact pose a threat to your market share.
Importance of real-time analytics
Real-time data analysis has already proven to be a disruptive force in 2016. Instantly actionable insight is no longer just about options, but a necessity. Clients demand relevant information, personalized to their situation. Better yet, they demand it immediately!
On the bright side though, such ability is no longer limited to the crème de la crème of the cloud industry. Any company, irrespective of their industry of operation has the chance of embracing opportunities are available through big data.
Acceleration of the staff turnover in the CIO (Chief Information Officer) market segment
Most tech industries in Africa will experience a wider gap between the leaders and the losers in the CIO divide. Pioneers and champions of cloud services and big data will be seen to venture further from pilot phases into production stages. On the other hand, those who do not, will find themselves redundant, exposed and pushed out of the competition.
Organizations in Africa that already have a framework for big data in place will actually enjoy a significant head start, as compared to those who are yet to map the way forward. While the gap between the best and the rest widens, so will the demand for quality talent in the industry. To stay ahead, companies will need nothing short of the best talent in the market, so this is in fact a good time to start thinking about your career projections and progression.
Game changing technology that will force businesses to reinvent themselves
All the businesses that were at the helm through innovation will realize that they have achieved nothing yet. Focus will therefore shift to the use of data, and real-time big data. The consequences of not keeping up with advancements will catch up with most companies.
Businesses in Africa are already rethinking their organizational structures. While we take the African approach in this editorial, it is worth noting that big data is changing industries on a global scale. One of the most important things that most companies will be looking at, is the ability to convert insight into revenue, and more importantly, venture or pioneer into markets that were unimaginable in the past.
Impact in the healthcare industry
One of the areas where big data will definitely yield some significant impact for Africa is the healthcare industry. There are lots of research institutions and healthcare institutions that are already using big data in their research projects.
Those who are not, are experimenting on how they could introduce big data and proceed thereon. This explains why participants in the healthcare industry are increasingly reliant on the expertise of statisticians, graduate students and data scientists to help unravel the marvels of big data.
Ideally, there will be challenges in the adoption of big data, but this is nothing unexpected. The biggest concern in this respect comes in two ways:
- Matching the right expertise with the appropriate need
- Securing the data systems in use within an organization
With these challenges, the best alternative for those organizations that want to forge ahead successfully will need to consider working with well-supported, enterprise size systems.
More on Big Data in health to follow…