Simply put, the 3rd platform is the next BIG phase of the Information Technology revolution. It is built like mobile networking, cloud computing, big data analytics, and social networking technologies. The 3rd platform offers an innovative approach to create, sell, deliver, or consume products and services with increased agility, flexibility, and scalability.
Adoption and outsourcing: Big Data Analytics (BDA)
Big Data is an all-inclusive term for the large volume of semi-structured and unstructured data that organizations create in their day-to-day operations. While most companies collect and analyze data, very few leverage BDA to a significant degree.
The BDA market is accelerating as companies have begun to harness data and make fact-based decisions to improve the way business is conducted. Outsourcing, which includes infrastructure management, software support, and specific BDA activities such as design, data mining, and decision support is still gaining ground in the market. Most organizations support their BDA activities internally; however, 20% of businesses are currently considering outsourcing.
According to research from the International Data Corporation (IDC), over half of all organizations use service providers while implementing their BDA environment. Most of these organizations use 3rd party providers for end-to-end project delivery.
BDA projects can be complex and hinge on the successful establishment of relationships and ease of operation that is critical to the success of long-term outsourcing arrangements. It is interesting to note that of the organizations that implement BDA internally, 10% leveraged a mostly cloud-based solution. IDC expects this percentage to increase in the future.
Buyers typically want to deal with vendors who offer competitive prices and have a reputation for technical expertise. These and a successful track record are the three primary factors that need to be considered when choosing a vendor for BDA.
Vendors need to demonstrate credibility through their people, quality of work, and past successes in the area. They must build their credentials in various mobile platforms and demonstrate thought leadership. Buyers would also do well to ask for references and roadmaps that will drive continuous improvement and ensure consistency of the support team.
Buyers tend to prefer one of two distinct types of vendors – the first type is telecom-based providers whose core capabilities span devices and the network. The second type covers specialty firms that are focused on mobile environments and development. Specialty vendors are the go-to providers of managed BDA services. Many buyers prefer boutique firms with specialists in design, data mining, etc. Boutique firms can partner with and provide much-needed skills to SIs, while telecom-based providers can design and deliver mobile, IoT, and network-based solutions.
Challenges and concerns
The biggest challenge with BDA appears to be management philosophy. This, along with concerns over loss of control, is often an unwarranted objection that buyers use to explain their position. Security is also frequently a concern. Cost savings often comes up on the list of challenges, possibly reflecting the maturity of the market and the need to demonstrate a positive ROI.