On October 14, I attended Big Data & Business Insights 2014 in Bangkok — the first public big data event in Thailand. I spoke about how to use big data to increase customer value in the age of the customer — a topic that seemed a bit distant from the audience’s daily reality. Most of them use traditional data warehouse and business intelligence tools and are new to big data solutions like Hadoop platforms, big data visualization, and predictive solutions. Here’s what I came away with:

  • Big data is still new to Thai businesses. Most big data projects in Thailand are still at the testing stages, and these trials are taking place in university labs rather than commercial environments. Dr. Putchong Uthayopas of the Department of Computer Engineering at Kasetsart University noted that big data projects in Thailand are now moving from pilot projects to actual usage.
  • Organizations need more details of real big data solutions. Thai businesses have held off investing in big data solutions because they felt uncertainty about the outcomes of big data projects. Attendees showed a lot of interest when I talked about big data usage in traditional industries, such as John Deere’s “Farm Forward” use case, which helped farmers make better decisions on what, when, and how to plant.
  • Customer analytics on social media will be one of the first big data use cases in Thailand. One bank decided to use a social media command center from Computerlogy, a local big data cloud services provider focused on social media analytics. The command center — a cloud-enabled big data service for social media analytics hosted on Amazon Web Services — helps the bank build capabilities in social CRM, intelligent ad buying, real-time monitoring, and social data visualization.

As I noted at the event, Thai organizations should start with small projects to build big data capabilities and then translate them into marketing capabilities. Big data cloud solutions can help Thai businesses get a taste of using big data and ease their concerns about return on investment and scalability. Then, to build up full big data practices, Thai companies need to become familiar with new algorithms and big data software development tools, establish proper policies on data security and ownership, and develop and support their own data scientists.


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