Big Data Offers Big Opportunities for Retail, Financial, Web Companies
"My team uses SAS products almost exclusively," said Pitts, who noted that he has programmed in SAS since 1985. "With SAS, we've been able to respond to any business questions as they arise. It's a very different world now as compared to when I started out doing this. I started programming SAS on a mainframe, and we had very limited sources of data. Now, there is an explosion of data from a variety of sources--some of which we haven't even seen yet, like telemetry data from personal medical devices." SAS recently announced that its SAS High-Performance Analytics Server now supports more analytics, including text mining and optimization. And the predictive modeling capabilities of SAS High-Performance Analytics Server now also use Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), the popular open-source big data infrastructure. "Hadoop is the big data platform of choice for Macys.com's analytics team, and SAS is our analytics engine that drives insights," said Kerem Tomak, vice president of marketing analytics at Macys.com. "We connect the two environments to create an analytics solution that drives business value." Meanwhile, IBM predicts a big payday from big data and analytics, and has invested in it accordingly. The company projects $16 billion in business analytics revenue by 2015, and to meet that target has established a vast portfolio of analytics solutions, growing its business and industry expertise to approximately 9,000 business analytics and optimization consultants and 400 researchers. IBM has also created global analytics solution centers in Berlin, Beijing, Dallas, London, New York, Tokyo, Washington and Zurich."The reason why we've been so acquisitive is that it was the quickest way to get to where we wanted to be," Kareem Yusuf, vice president of strategy, mergers and acquisitions in IBM Software Group, told eWEEK. Yusuf said he has overseen at least 10 of IBM's analytics acquisitions. However, as IBM continues to acquire analytics expertise, the company internalizes that expertise, and what was at one point inorganic growth starts to become more organic growth, he said. "By IBM entering the market, it completely altered the dynamics in the marketplace," said Elana Anderson, director of enterprise marketing management at IBM, who came to Big Blue from its acquisition of Unica, a provider of marketing analytics solutions. "The key thing IBM has done in the market is amplification."
Nancy Kopp, director of big data strategy at IBM, said it has spent $16 billion on acquiring more than 30 companies to build targeted analytics and information expertise, and continues to expand its ecosystem, which today consists of more than 27,000 IBM business partners. IBM has also secured hundreds of patents a year in analytics.