Microsoft touts Big Data wins in Asia-Pacific

March 19th, 2013 | by Alfred Siew
Microsoft touts Big Data wins in Asia-Pacific


Microsoft today brought out recent wins in its Big Data efforts in Asia-Pacific, promising its technology will be easy to use for anyone who knows how to set up a Powerpoint slide.

Well, anyone who is backed up by a team of competent IT experts, who would be doing the tough job of putting the data into the mix with Microsoft database tools like SQL Server, said executives here in Singapore.

There’s also the problem with getting the right data in the mix, and sorting out structured data – such as addresses – from unstructured data – such as photos – with various different tools.

Not an issue, said Microsoft’s enterprise software folks today. They added that it is possible even for small retailers, using simple tools such as Excel, to extract important insights such as customer buying patterns to better plan their inventory.

Arul Ulagaratchagan, Microsoft Asia-Pacific’s general manager for server and tools, said Microsoft was confident of the consumerisation of Big Data, the number crunching and analysis process that many big companies have latched on to better predict the future.

He pointed to Microsoft’s Azure cloud-based marketplace where customers can look up publicly available data, say, from government agencies or paid-for data collected by commercial companies, and mash that with their internal data, to form a coherence analysis.

That is just part of the equation. The company hopes that its tools, familiar with business users everywhere, will help win it more Big Data deals.

Microsoft’s Office suite already comes with business intelligence tools, such as PowerPivot, which lets users mash up and analyse data across millions of rows. Then, there is Power View, which taps on SQL Server’s Reporting Services to provide a quick visualisation of data.

The National University of Singapore, for one, uses SQL Server and crunches data on how students access its e-learning service. The findings confirmed what the university always believed – that students were accessing more school materials from their smartphones. It now has Android and iOS apps for users to access its e-learning service.

Other wins which Microsoft brought up today included a law-enforcement agency in Thailand, a hotel in China and the Bank of New Zealand.

In Thailand, the Department of Special Investigation rolled out a Microsoft project that helped mine data better with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Apache Hadoop software.

The structured data was handled by SQL Server, while Hadoop dealt with unstructured data, say, crime scene photos. The result? A cut in investigation time from two years to just 15 days, claimed Microsoft.

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