Categories: Interview

Data impact is redefining intelligence across industries

Prasad Rai1

Indian businesses are making significant investments in technologies to unleash the power of data and capitalize on its vast potential, says Prasad Rai, Vice President, Global Strategic Clients Group, Oracle India

What is India’s role in the data economy today?

Over the last few years, India has begun a historic transition toward becoming a data economy fuelled by a variety of factors such as government support, rising internet penetration, mass urbanisation, digitization of skills, and the expansion of the startup ecosystem. Data is at the heart of these factors; its impact is redefining “intelligence” across industries and guiding Indian businesses toward innovation, growth, and well-being.

How has been the progress, so far? What more needs to be done?

In the past decade, India has experienced explosive growth in the data analytics industry due to the rise of internet users. The internet penetration has doubled from 20% in 2018 to 41% in 2019, according to World Bank, and is expected to add over 900 million users by 2025. Individuals and enterprises in India are generating a significant amount of personal data because of the proliferation of digital services. This vast collection of data has created a vast pool of data and prompting organizations to expand their data analysis capabilities.

This expansion has aided the data analytics industry by significantly increasing the collection of data that can potentially be used to enter new markets. The data analytics industry already recorded a substantial 26.5% year-on-year growth in 2021, with the market value reaching US$ 45.4 billion.

Indian businesses are making significant investments in technologies to unleash the power of data and capitalize on its vast potential. However, the broader economy has yet to capitalize on the wide opportunities offered by data-led insights. We are seeing a greater push from both the government and private players, and based on current trends, we may see a more synchronized framework to leverage the actual power of data to advance our economy to greater potential.

In the past decade, India has experienced explosive growth in the data analytics industry due to the rise of internet users. The internet penetration has doubled from 20% in 2018 to 41% in 2019, according to World Bank, and is expected to add over 900 million users by 2025.

The theme of 2022’s looming trends is how data integrates into core business processes. How has India been progressing?

While it is undeniable that data has emerged as a critical business resource and asset for organisations seeking to expand their operations at almost all the levels. We see data integration emerging as a ‘Megatrend,’ encompassing almost all economic sectors and industries, paving the way for the Indian economy to emerge as a data-led economy and a major contributor to the overall growth of the Asian economy in the coming decades. This, in turn, will boost overall industry growth, particularly our country’s rapidly expanding startup ecosystem. Businesses must now use data intelligently and integrate it into core processes. Many organisations in industries such as IT/ITES, BFSI, healthcare and pharma, e-commerce, retail, manufacturing, and others are heavily investing in smart technologies to integrate data into their business processes. Oracle, for example, works with a variety of organisations, including Safexpress, Apollo Tyres, Clix Capital, SBI Card, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Quess Corp, Apollo Hospitals, SBI General Insurance, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, HDFC ERGO Indira IVF, and many others, to integrate data into their core processes, which ranges from HR functions to financial management to supply chain management.

We are seeing a greater push from both the government and private players, and based on current trends, we may see a more synchronized framework to leverage the actual power of data to advance our economy to greater potential.

In terms of progress, India has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go to get into the core of the reaping the best benefits of data analytics. While the personal data revolution has clearly moved at breakneck speed because of rapid advancements in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, businesses have yet to develop a common ethical framework to govern data value chain choices.

Are there data-savvy leaders deployed across all functions of the business?

Globally, data has been doubling every three years and is expected to reach close to 180 Zettabytes (ZBs) by 2025. It is critical to identify the right data sets among the mountains of data that businesses have these days. While technology facilitates the collection, analysis, and use of data, it is critical to have leaders who are data-savvy and understand the data in order to efficiently deploy data across business functions. In this regard, given the extensive value that data provides, businesses should invest in skilling all business leaders, regardless of their roles, to ensure that they can make the best use of the inputs that technology provides. In fact, data knowledge should be a requirement for all business leaders in organisations.

How important is the role of data in the digital economy?

In this twenty-first century of digital transformation, data has emerged as the new oil for running to mechanism of digital economy. Data is the new fuel and the oxygen that contains enormous untapped potential. Individuals and organisations generate massive amounts of data every second in the form of documents, images, videos, social media messages, search queries, news, and so on. From public to private, all organizations across economic sector are gradually realizing the value data provides, as a key driving asset to promote strategic decision making for business leaders. Over the past few years data has emerged as a highly valuable business resource in the digital age. Data can provide enormous value and smart and foresighted insights if properly analysed and utilised.

Cloud computing is providing the right tools for this, laying the groundwork for leveraging data as an asset, and cloud providers such as Oracle are assisting businesses in becoming more effective.

How critical is it for Indian businesses to embrace the right use of data while also becoming highly secure and aligning their business processes in the midst of the digital transformation wave? What role does cloud players like Oracle play in driving the data economy megatrend?

There is an abundance of data, and the key to business growth is making the best use of it. The proper application of this wealth of information opens up a plethora of opportunities for businesses to embrace and promote a truly data-driven culture within their organisations. This is where technology comes into play; to enable intelligent use of data intelligently. Hence, organisations must implement the appropriate tools and technologies to collect, understand, analyse, and apply data to realise its full potential. Cloud computing is providing the right tools for this, laying the groundwork for leveraging data as an asset, and cloud providers such as Oracle are assisting businesses in becoming more effective. Consolidating clouds and analytics could help businesses store, interpret, and process big data to better meet the needs of their clients. The ease, accessibility, and capability of performing complex data analysis on very large data sets has rapidly increased thanks to cloud analytics.

Oracle has been collaborating with organisations globally and in India to provide the best data analysis capabilities. For example, in the healthcare sector, where data has become an essential tool for creating actionable insights and predictive analysis for disease detection and treatment. Oracle provide solutions to various hospitals and pharmaceutical companies in this sector to help them transform their internal and external processes, including Indira IVF, Apollo Hospitals, Omega Healthcare, Fortis Hospitals, Shri Ganga Ram Hospitals, SBI General Insurance, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, HDFC ERGO and many more. Oracle has partnered with global healthcare providers to integrate records onto a single source of data; for example, Oracle’s Cerner acquisition is a critical step toward creating a unified national health records database on top of thousands of separate hospital databases.

In this data-driven ecosystem, what are the key trends that will shape society and businesses alike? And, given that technology companies now have a dual role to play—as both consumers and contributors—how is technology evolving and taking centre stage?

Data-led economy and digital ecosystem have contributed a lot to the expansion of various other megatrends within the economy such as startup growth, disruption in the future of work, embedded finance, advancement of telecom services such as 5G proliferation, and many more. If one looks closely, one can see that all these trends are interconnected, integrated, and mutually beneficial. These ‘Megatrends’ are now shaping society and businesses alike and have the potential to change India’s economic fabric in the coming decade.

Technology companies play a critical role here as enablers, supporting and enhancing organisations in both the private and public sectors as they progress through their digital transformation journeys. For example, cloud providers such as Oracle are at the forefront of assisting their customers during disruptions and providing continuous innovation that aids in the evolution of the business dynamics and raising their standard. Our customers rely heavily on Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications to assist them in evolving by utilising smart embedded technologies such as AI, ML, blockchain, and data analytics to assist businesses in adopting to these trends and making the best use of data.

Prasad Rai

Vice President, Global Strategic Clients Group, Oracle India

By Aanchal Ghatak

aanchalg@cybermedia.co.in

Aanchal Ghatak: