Scaling technology offerings in China is staggering. Even the most mundane product or service can have a couple hundred million monthly users. Massive amounts of data are generated, creating a need to take advantage of it. I had an opportunity to learn how data and analytics are being used in China when I toured Beijing and Shanghai last week.
Data & Analytics
Unlike the US market, and parts of EMEA, there doesn’t appear to be a push for self-service tools at the business level. Much of the work done today still resides in IT. And much of that is still on-prem. That’s not to say the market here isn’t sophisticated. I spoke with several data brokers, cloud-based BI providers and data management vendors, each with several thousand customers. The difference, as far as I could tell, was a focus on product over platform.
The data management story in the US and EMEA has been to offer a platform upon which developers, either corporate or consulting, can build new bespoke applications for specific enterprise use cases. Selling tools to craftsmen and women. That works as long as the enterprise can absorb the cost of building and supporting another custom application. Most of these are likely vanity projects. They aren’t competitive differentiators.
The focus in China appears to be largely on analytics products. Bespoke development happens, to be sure, but it looks like the exception for new analytical workloads. This might be caused by a skills shortage, or perhaps some cultural difference. Of course, my perspective may also be skewed by the sample size. I’m hoping to get more data on future visits.
Gartner’s 2015 big data adoption survey indicated cloud computing was top of mind for big data projects in APAC. It was also top of mind for the Chinese end users and vendors I spoke with. However, I don’t have enough data to say whether existing applications are migrating to the cloud or primarily new workloads are finding their way to the cloud. Like the US, many conversations explored the opportunity of cloud infrastructure. And like the US, data control and security hamper deployments.
China looks like a fast growing and dynamic data and analytics market. Leading edge use cases are as sophisticated as anything you’ll find in North America or EMEA. You should pay attention.
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