Big Data means many things to many people. There are not many vendors in the IT industry that have not developed some kind of Big Data solution. However, the market is also confused, trying to understand exactly what the customer wants and needs are. Vendors are trying to assess what would be the best method to bring their product to the market. Hence the Big Data Ecosystem. The Big Data Ecosystem has five characteristics:
- It’s huge. Big Data is a container term, and therefore fits many vendors and wannabees.
- It’s diversified. Big Data touches many areas and therefore many vendors add to the solution.
- It’s dynamic. It is not the traditional (CIO) end-user you are selling to. CEO, CIO, CMO and CFO want to have their say.
- It’s challenged. Big Data ecosystem leaders are being challenged by new and upcoming technologies and vendors.
- It’s happening. As we speak.
Numbers vary, but the opportunity for Big Data is huge. Even focusing on a Big Data sub segment can pay off, for example Hadoop as a Service. A closer look at the type of vendor segments involved is portrayed in the figure below:
Big Data touches upon many areas, not only technical – ranging from infrastructure and storage to analysis and analytics – but also usage. Data usage by source – machine generated data, social data, streaming data etc. Data usage by role – CEO’s CIO’s and CMO’s. Data usage by vertical – finance (fraud detection for example), production industries (oil & utilities) or in the retail area (predicting and anticipating on consumer behavior). But it is the scope of activities that can be grouped under the heading ‘Big Data’ that creates the diversification. From companies like EMC, Hitachi or Fujitsu to Cisco, Dell, IBM and SAS Institute; they all offer some kind of Big Data product or solution that adds up to the overall Big Data Landscape.
Consumer buying behaviour is shifting, and the customer buying experience is becoming increasingly important. There is a whole new consumer ecosystem out there. CIO’s no longer control what comes in and what goes out, they are increasingly pushed by employees’ BYOD and BYOapp into the enterprise. Especially in the area of Big Data, the CIO will need to work with CMO’s and CEO’s needs for accurate, fast and reliable data, presented in a user-friendly way. If the CIO can’t deliver, the CMO and CEO will look for an app that accommodates their needs themselves. Vendors like Google, Microsoft but also MicroStrategy are addressing this need with Big Data for everyone, or Big Data as a Service (BDaaS).
New technologies emerge (Hadoop, NoSQL and in-memory computing). At the same time, BDaaS is starting to emerge. Traditional vendors are trying to find their ways in this landscape. Traditional partnerships or rock solid alliances may not address the needs of the current Big Data requirements. In addition, Big Data startups are emerging every day, challenging the traditional Big Data or Analytics vendors. Larger vendors will need to reexamine their existing alliances while not neglecting the opportunity of the new and emerging players.
The Big Data market is surpassing the hype. Most vendors have formalized their own Big Data strategy, and now look to form alliances to bring their product or solution to market. Big Data, because of its size and breadth, is not an easy market to address alone, unless you’re an Oracle or IBM. But even these vendors realize they need partners. Small alliance or partnership clusters are being formed. They range in reach and scope, some examples:
- Cisco & Oracle have a partnership around Cisco UCS and Oracle’s NoSQL Database
- Cloudera has a limited set of strategic alliances (SAP, Cisco, Oracle, HP, Dell, IBM, MicroStrategy, Dell and Informatica), and channel partners.
- Hitachi has a Big Data offering, where Hitachi offers the Big Data Content Platform, and SAP offers Hana and SAP’s predictive analysis solutions.
- Large full service organizations such as Deloitte and Accenture offer Big Data consulting and integration solutions. Though no specific alliances are mentioned, it is obvious that they will make use of the SAP and Oracle excellence centers (and the associated number of certified consultants).
In the picture above, CEO’s are most likely to buy from the upper right circles (services, integration and large ISVs). CMO’s are most likely to buy from (or be influenced by) the lower right circles (specialized ISV’s and the Big Four). CIO’s will buy from the circles on the left (integration, network, infrastructure, datacenters etc.). At the same time, system integrators and large ISVs have alliances (hubs) with database vendors, network and infrastructure providers etc. The hubs between the various vendors will be important in completing the offering. In the end, it’s the end-user who decides. An ecosystem depends on end-user buying patterns. As described above, buying intentions from the CMO will differ from the CIO or CEO. It’s important to build an ecosystem with access to those customers you can’t reach yourself.
E.on, one of Europe’s largest utility companies, for example, decided to buy its Big Data solution from Ericsson. Clearly, Ericsson is not a name you would at first hand associate with Big Data. But, as they are E.on’s closest advisor on smart metering, they were the chosen one.
For vendors this means that one needs to find strategic alliances that complete the Big Data offering. We see some local initiatives developing, but the path is not paved yet. A local study on Big Data Market Dynamics: Vendor Positioning in the Netherlands will provide more clarity on this subject.
If you’re interested, let us know!
Excellent article. Nice work.