DUBAI: The region is witnessing a renewed confidence in ‘big data analytics’ due to the increasing use of mobile devices and social media, which has spurred a large volume of complex data across major industries.

“Big data is a serious issue. The driver is not only the growth in data. The major driver for the increasing concern and discussion around big data is the type of data and not the size of data,” said Ahmad Adly, cloud computing leader at Oracle.

Previously, he said that companies were very focused on structured data, the data that resides in databases like ID, location, etc. The change that happened in the last two to three years is the growth in unstructured data and it is becoming as important as the structured data.

The unstructured data comes from social networks, photos, user behaviour, feedbacks, business sources, media stream, and elsewhere.

“The unstructured data is important to understand the customer behaviour and the big data is the technology enabler that helps to merge the structured and unstructured data together in one repository and analyse them to come with a better understanding of the customer. That is why a lot of business customers are caring for it now,” Adly said.

Over the next two years, he said that big data will not be a luxury anymore and it will not be an option for companies to adopt Big Data implementation.

Adly also added that privacy was an issue before as people were not interested in giving more details about themselves but this issue is different from one generation to the other. The current “younger generation: is fully willing to share information publicly on social profiles and other different platforms on the internet.

“So privacy issue is becoming more relaxed now,” he said.

According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, the global big data market is expected to grow from $3.2 billion (Dh11.75 billion) in 2013 to $15.1 billion by 2020.

At the same time, the GCC market is poised to grow nearly fivefold from $135.7 million in 2013 to $635.5 million in 2020.

Dong Wu, president of Huawei enterprise business in the Middle East, said: “Businesses that do not jump on the ‘big data bandwagon’ will be left behind by competitors who cannot only store the influx of information but analyse and extract value from it.”

One of the most exciting potential areas for companies is to create new income streams by analysing the data and build an insight into customer intelligence and behaviours and monetise the information.

According to research firm International Data Corporation, increasing demand for insights from data will push organisations to step up their analytics technologies, moving beyond basic queries and reporting toward data warehouses and data visualisation.

Saurabh Verma, research manager for IT services at IDC, said that there has been an increased interest in the adoption of third platform technologies — big data and analytics, enterprise mobility, social platforms, and cloud computing. However, he said the interest and adoption levels have varied across verticals and in some cases been very industry specific. For example, numerous retail, transport, and banking and financial services organisations have started piloting big data and analytics projects, while other verticals are quickly adopting basic business intelligence and dashboard-based performance management tools.

“The UAE government has planned and launched multiple ambitious megaprojects that are expected to have a significant positive impact on the country’s IT services market,” he said.

Savita Bhaskar, General Manager of Condo Protego, said that with smart city plans firmly in place across the GCC, all businesses are ramping up their IT capabilities in an effort to enhance their customer experience and retain a competitive edge.

“This will impact all verticals, from commercial and consumer-driven markets to health care, education, and government services.”