Sramana Mitra: Who are your top three clients in the BI/big data domain, who are really pushing the envelope on cutting-edge technology?
K. R. Sanjiv: I will not be able to name customers, but let me throw some color on this. Historically, over the last 10 years, the big consumers of analytics have been retail customers and retail banking customers, followed by telcos. But what we have clearly seen over the past two years is the expansion into industries which were typically not using these types of services – manufacturing, the pharmaceutical industry, etc. Today the biggest users are not banks and retailers, but oil & gas. If you look at some of the big oil companies, the amount of data they have is phenomenal. Given oil prices, leveraging this data in terms of improving productivity by one or two percent is a huge record. So, oil & gas is a big user of analytics. It is becoming even bigger today. For them, machine learning is very relevant. When drilling is happening in real time, analytics can improve the uptime of a drill. The trend is that it is moving from certain few industries to many.
SM: Talk to me about the same issue on the vendor side. I am sure you are using various vendors. Talk to me about which vendors have the maximum cutting-edge innovation in this domain.
We work with all vendors. From a vendor perspective, the landscape we are seeing is that there are the Oracles, the SAPs and the IBMs with their conventional BI suites. They are coming out with integrated platforms. SAP, for example, is pushing very hard around Hana. Oracle’s entire range of products is something they are betting on in terms of the BI analytics space. You also find a lot of niche vendors, like Click View or Spotfire, which are cashing in on the visualization – it is an area they are doing very well in. It is a changing landscape, and it will be redefined over the next two years. They will integrate the old and the new in a seamless environment. They will certainly capture the market to a large extent.
SM: Let’s shift gears. When you look around – in the context of your customers, what they are doing and what they are trying to do – if you shift towards what you are hearing in their conversations of their fantasies, what are those fantasies that are maybe not entirely viable right now?
KS: The ultimate goal for a B2C customer, for example, is to ultimately do analytics that is an almost one-to-one mapping of their individual customers. Let’s say there is a bank dealing with 50 million customers. The ultimate dream is to have an individually constructed product offering – price individually, structured and bundled based on each individual customer. Every company has an ultimate dream. Insurance companies would like to create products that are specific to the individual. That is the holy grail – the final goal everybody is looking to achieve. It is still far away, though. There are still some legal hurdles to be crossed before you can do that – it is almost intrusive into people’s privacy.