2015 Brazil´s Big Data trends: challenges and opportunities

Big Data is still very much a nascent market in Brazil, and it is expected to grow tremendously over the next few years. 2015 will be a year where the first movers of the market will start to shift from proofs of concept to production-oriented projects. This will present an excellent opportunity for local and international companies, meaning that the data analytics market in Brazil is definitely one to watch this year.

Until quite recently, many people in Brazil didn’t know what Big Data was. With growing interest in the topic and expanding media coverage, understanding grew and 2014 has been a year of widespread local experimentation, pilot projects and proofs of concept. Many of the largest companies experimented with the concepts and technologies, either internally or by hiring external help, and the demand has only been growing.

However, there is still a lot of uncertainty and confusion related with both the underlying concepts of Big Data and the potential applications and benefits that it can bring. In this environment of high demand coupled with uncertainty, some noteworthy trends have arisen and will be shaping the evolution of the market in 2015.

Non-techies will help fix the skills gap

To realize all the potential of Big Data projects, it is not enough to have professionals that are skilled on the technical tools. The lack of qualified professionals to work on Big Data projects in Brazil is one of the main problems companies face when starting analytics projects, and also the reason why consultants active within that field have no shortage of work these days. Many of the top universities in Brazil have been trying to address the Big Data skills gap by launching new executive or part-time courses focused on teaching the basics of data analysis, and updating their CVs accordingly. Many companies have also been investing in training in a more focused manner to better respond to these issues.

One very interesting trend here is that much of the Big Data-related training is being offered to professionals who do not have an IT background, but rather a statistics or math background.

So it is fair to say that there’s a huge opportunity for companies focused on training and education to provide courses for the market. There is also a lot of space for companies to provide tools for handling Big Data that anyone, regardless of their tech proficiency, can use.

“Big Data Washers” shall proliferate 

Just as the advent of cloud computing brought about the “cloud washers” – companies that simply slapped the cloud computing label on whatever software or solutions they already had – today we are witnessing the rise of “big data washers” in Brazil: companies that are labelling their solutions “Big Data” regardless of whether they deliver on that promise or not.

The lack of consensus and definitions then enables companies to rebrand their products as so-called Big Data offerings without giving customers a clear way to differentiate between the serious companies and those that are less so.

A lot of this relabeling also happens internally. Many companies, especially large corporations in the telecom and financial services verticals, have been claiming to have always worked with Big Data, that this is just a new name for the work they already did. Unfortunately though, not everyone understands this difference.

This trend will definitely continue to be seen in Brazil over the next year, as the large interest of the market on Big Data creates an incentive for solution providers and IT shops to jump on the bandwagon. Growing understanding and wider dissemination of information may help reverse it, but here in Brazil there is still a long way to go

Focused vendors will succeed 

Big Data is already a huge market, accounting for several hundred million dollars of IT spending in Brazil alone. Today, most of this money is going to technology companies from outside Brazil (infrastructure or basic application providers, such as Amazon and Cloudera), or to large consulting firms who are implementing projects.

The local companies having the most success and experiencing faster growth in the Big Data market are those who sought a particular Big Data problem and developed a product that solves that problem in its entirety. Such companies handle data collection, analysis and processing themselves, delivering the final result of the process to clients, instead of a series of technologies that can be applied to that problem.

Why is that approach unique? Because it presents more valuable learnings to companies wanting to dabble with Big Data: finding a problem and focusing on solving it from start to finish means you are much more likely to succeed, rather than simply experimenting with tools and technologies applied to regular data.

Source: ZD Net, 2015