Return on investment is a topic that comes up in any conversation about big data. Big data has become the latest hot solution and every organization wants it because they know they can get a return on a big data investment, but many still aren’t sure how. In this race to support the latest big data craze, vendors are coming forward offering the latest software/hardware/development/cloud technology with claims that they have the best big data solution available. All this chaos presents an excellent opportunity for value-added resellers. By helping customers meet their objectives and achieve a real return on their big data investment, VARs can build their own big data business and maximize their own big data ROI.
The big data opportunity is still growing. MarketsandMarkets projects big data spending will reach $14 billion by 2017. And half of those expenditures are expected to be for professional services. As the benefits of big data continue to prove themselves, smaller businesses are starting to take advantage of big data analytics and spending millions of dollars. Big data isn’t just for the enterprise anymore, but all these companies still need expert guidance.
As solution providers, VARs have to determine where their best opportunities lie in big data deployment. According to The 2112 Group’s 2015 Channel Perceptions report, the vendors have scored poorly on explaining and selling big data solutions with an average rating of 5.96 out of 10. And when it came to assisting with the implementation and support, big data vendors scored 5.88 out of 10. VARs can take advantage of these shortcomings by filling these gaps.
Much of the coming revenue for big data will come from professional services largely because no one vendor has stepped forward with a simple, easy to deploy solution. Big data still requires a lot of expertise at all levels and has many moving parts, so the ability to assemble and support the pieces needed for a successful big data engagement can make any VAR invaluable.
Where Do You Fit in the Big Data Value Chain?
Big data analytics are complex, so to maximize their big data ROI VARs need to define where they offer the most value in the big data process. Even big data professional services span a wide area. Professional services can be interpreted to mean defining the scope of the big data project, developing the right use cases, writing custom analytics, building infrastructure design and handling deployment, providing analytics interpretation, or all or some of the above.
Very few VARs are going to be able to offer end-to-end big data expertise, so their best strategy is to pick a specialty within the big data value chain and optimize service delivery for that specialty. VARs can offer their services as part of a larger consulting team, or they can assume a supervisory role and oversee other big data experts.
Finding the right distribution partner can help. If you can partner with a larger distributor that understands the big data process and can offer customized support as well as technology each step of the way, then that partner can really make you shine.
Pick Your Market Niche
Another way to maximize your big data ROI is to specialize in a specific market. The value of big data can be applied to any organization in any market. Big data can be used to assess customer engagement, operations, market opportunities, product development, and a host of common business concerns. However, the specifics of creating big data use cases, identifying the right data sources, developing the right analytics, and interpreting the results are going to vary from market to market.
For example, the financial services industry can benefit from big data analytics to predict market changes, assess customer needs, and determine new growth areas. However, banks and brokers operate under strict federal guidelines and have unique operational requirements. By specializing in big data for financial services, you can make recommendations about meeting regulatory requirements, data security, use cases, and more. You can use your special understanding of financial services to help the customer get the most from big data.
Or consider the unique needs of manufacturing. Big data can be used to optimize the supply chain, streamline operations, improve quality control, cut manufacturing costs, and more. For example, one of the top five biopharmaceutical manufacturers was able to increase vaccine production without adding costs using big data. The company segmented its production into clusters and then performed an analysis of the production interdependencies. Using big data the company identified nine parameters that had the most dramatic impact on production and by optimizing those nine processes they were able to increase yield by 50 percent. If you can bring specialized expertise in manufacturing processes, you can realize the same kind of results for your customers and maximize your own ROI in the process.
For VARs, the secret of maximizing your big data ROI is to identify where you can offer the most value in the big data process and stay focused. Don’t commit to more than you can deliver. You don’t want to get the same low scores as the vendors who can’t explain and support big data. It’s better to maximize your value where you can, under promise and over deliver, and ally yourself with strong consulting and deployment partners who won’t disappoint you.