Transforming India into a Big Data Hub

Big Data is a goldmine of opportunity for every country but, it represents probably the biggest opportunity in the history of India.

The answer lies in how the world views India as a brand. More often than not, the country is seen as an IT Services hub or is commonly referred as the back-office of the world.

The IT/IT Enabled Services (ITES) industry in India has grown at a tremendous pace in recent years. However, new locations such as the Philippines and Mexico have emerged as strong competitors. In addition, the industry has been battling global recessionary headwinds and all of these factors signal a need for the Indian IT/ITES indutry to transform. Looking at the engineering talent pool, proven track-record and maturity of the country as an IT services hub, India has a clear advantage to emerge as the global analytics services hub.

The global demand of Big Data analytics services is slated to become a billion dollar industry by 2015*, but, it is not as simple as it seems. The only way for Big Data analytics services to take off is to have people skilled in data science, which is a rare breed of professional today.

India does have the necessary ingredients when it comes to talent. There is an abundance of mathematics and statistics talent and it is a well known fact that India has one of the largest pools of engineering talent in the world, producing over 550,000 engineering graduates every year.** However, this talent is still raw and not industry-ready.

EMC Academic AllianceI am proud that EMC can play a significant role in honing this talent with our EMC Academic Alliance (EAA) program. The launch of the Data Science and Big Data analytics course in India is already a big hit! The excitement is palpable and we have received an overwhelming response from participating universities, colleges and students alike.

Given the impact we have had in India with EAA (100,000 ISM trained and 30,000 Cloud Infrastructure Services trained students by 2013), I won’t be surprised to see this type of success replicated with the newly launched course.

There is however even more to the Big Data opportunity for India.

Let’s also not forget the domestic opportunity. One would say, it is nascent! Well, let me tell you that the Gen Y (Age 15-29) population alone in India is over 1/4th of the total population and exceeds the entire population of US.*** Now, that is really big!

Gen Y in India is embracing mobile and internet technology like no other. They are increasingly expressing themselves, collaborating, consuming and communicating online. It is obvious that the traditional way of selling is not going to work with this crowd. Businesses need to understand this ever important segment better which presents another big opportunity for Big Data.

And, that’s not all…

India with its diverse demography represents a classic opportunity for Big Data when it comes to Governance.

AADHAARThe AADHAR project, a 12 digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on behalf of the Government of India is potentially the single largest human data repository in the world.

‘Big Data can do magic’ would be an understatement when it comes to this project. It has the potential to transform citizen services completely. If analyzed, the data can provide accurate insights on nutrition levels, mortality rates, sex ratios and disease ailments across age, geography and gender among other things. Add the dimension of historical data and the Government could have strong insights that will aid in driving citizen services delivery and targeted programs for the underprivileged.

The promise of Big Data should be seen as a revolution for a better future. To India, Big Data presents the biggest wave of opportunity ever and I hope that the country can rise up to the occasion and as they say, Carpe Diem!

Source of data: *NASSCOM , **NASSCOM,  ***Indian Population Bureau

About the Author: Rajesh Janey