Amid subdued demand for traditional information technology (IT) services offerings, Indian IT services players are betting on big data, as this is high on clients' agenda.
Most IT services companies are enhancing their capabilities, either by creating platforms to process big data or by acquiring companies in this space.
Big data is the unstructured and semi-structured data created and generated by enterprises.
According to Gartner's IT glossary, the term is used to define high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective and innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.
According to software industry body Nasscom, the global big data analytics market would stand at $7-7.5 billion by 2020.
"Big data is very high on the agenda of enterprises. It is one of the first things our clients are asking for," says Vishnu G Bhat, vice-president and global head (cloud), Infosys.
"We feel big data is relevant to every enterprise. I think the relevance of big data is so imminent that it is quite imperative."
While the retail industry had emerged as an early user of big data, it is felt companies from sectors such as life sciences, financial services, manufacturing and energy & utilities would substantially invest in this field.
Infosys had launched its big data platform - BigDataEdge - in February, this year. According to Bhat, the company is witnessing "-time" interest in the platform. It is implementing big data technology for clients across North America, Europe and the US. Infosys is also investing in preparing a workforce for this segment; it has introduced courses to train people quickly. The company is working with some universities to help identify new trends and start relevant programmes.
Reflecting the need to expand its big data and analytics offerings, in May, Wipro acquired minority stake in Opera Solutions, a global big data company, for $30 million. Mid-sized IT firms such as MphasiS, too, have shifted focus to this segment see it as a major opportunity.
"We decided to invest in select areas of emerging services; the emerging services areas we decided to invest in ranged from data, analytics to mobility," Ganesh Ayyar, chief executive of MphasiS, told Business Standard. "We are clearly seeing an uptick in demand in the areas of data and analytics."
Riding the trend, HP on Tuesday announced an expanded big data portfolio. The company launched an analytics platform in this space-HAVEN-which leverages the company's analytics software, hardware and services to create big data-ready analytics applications and solutions.
According to research commissioned by HP, 47 per cent of the companies surveyed in India would spend at least 10 per cent of their IT innovation budget on big data this year.
About a third of the organisations surveyed believed big data was the largest competitive differentiator for their organisation, the research said.
Quoting Nasscom, HP said the Indian big data industry would grow five-fold from the current $200 million and touch $1 billion by 2015. It added there was an opportunity for Indian service providers in implementation and analytics for global multinationals.
Infosys' Bhat believes big data would change the fundamentals of information management. "Today, the scope of this space is huge. I think we would see a shift from the traditional manner of carrying out information management to a combination of traditional and new ways of doing things, which is big data."
What is big data?
It's a term used to describe the voluminous amount of unstructured and semi-structured data created by enterprises
Where do these come from?
These are generated both within the organisations, as well as from external sources such as social media, mails, videos, etc
Are these useful?
If analysed and mined properly, this could help companies determine new trends and pattern and gauge their own efficiencies
Who would reap the benefits?
Data mining is extremely important for companies in the financial services, insurance, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, retail and manufacturing sectors