Indian business consulting and technology firm Infosys has become the latest company to dip a toe in the Big Data pond with the launch of its BigDataEdge tool, aimed at simplifying the analysis of Big Data to discover relevant information. 

According to Vishnu Bhat, Head of Big Data and Cloud services for Infosys, there is currently vast amounts of unstructured data within enterprises which has not been looked at at all. It is highly under-utilised and under-analysed, and the industry now calls it “dark data”.

BigDataEdge, which is built on the open-source Apache Hadoop framework, is an attempt to provide businesses and enterprises with a mechanism to unlock value from a combination of structured data within the enterprise, unstructured within the enterprise and unstructured data that is external to the enterprise. 

The tool – which can be customised for specific industries such as retail, telecoms and finance – pulls in data from multiple sources such as loyalty programmes, customer transactions and social media channels into one dashboard, to help business leaders make more informed decisions.

“We needed a platform that was comprehensive, that brought in the needs of businesses and IT holistically end-to-end, and unlocked the value from big data,” Bhat told Techworld. “We believe that BigDataEdge is a best-of-breed platforms for empowering both businesses and technology to rapidly develop and action industry-specific insights.”

Infosys BigDataEdge consists of a rich visual interface with more than 50 customisable dashboards and 250 built-in algorithms. These algorithms enable business teams to self-serve the process of building insights while minimising the need for technical intervention.

“The technical skills needed for Big Data are becoming more and more complex, and the right skills are not available in the market. At the same time on the business side there is a shortage of talent when it comes to data scientists, because their productivity is very very low,” said Bhat.

“With BigDataEdge, the data scientists can self-serve without too much training. They can drag and drop options to build these algorithms on the fly. It's a huge benefit for our clients, enabling rapid insights, and we believe that it's about 8 times faster than traditional ways of doing it.”

Infosys offers over 50 data source connectors, which allow easy access to structured and unstructured data residing across enterprise and external sources. There are also ‘out-of-the-box’ applications for specific industry needs such as fraud detection and prevention, predictive analytics and monitoring, and customer micro-segmentation that deliver faster returns on investment

Infosys has also built a connector framework, that allows new connectors to be built very quickly. Bhat claims that this will bring in efficiencies of over 40 percent, in terms of speed of integrating data sources. 

“A lot of complexity is hidden behind the scenes, a lot of complexity is hidden behind the product, and organisations can now plug and play data sources with a great degree of ease and speed.” 

He pointed to a financial services organisation, which had a lot of risk information and asset liabilities stored in silos of different organisations and buried within documents, meaning that it was unable to define the risk exposures on its assets .

With the BigDataEdge platform, the company was able to bring in data sets from various document management systems and analyse them in order to establish a hierarchy of risk exposures across organisations.

“They covered about 43 percent of the accounts that they could not analyse before, so huge benefits in being able to unlock that value,” said Bhat.

BigDataEdge includes a Logical Data Warehouse that provides a virtual data management architecture, eliminating the need for physical availability of data to build and test insights. Infosys is paid on the return on investment the product offers.

Commenting on the news, Cetin Ozbutun, vice president ofData Warehousing and Big Data Technologies at Oracle said that Infosys has demonstrated the ability to deliver needed skills for Oracle's Big Data solutions

“The Infosys BigDataEdge platform leverages Oracle Big Data Appliance and Oracle Exadata Database Machine to help our clients acquire, organise, analyse, and take action on these insights and produce a faster return on their Big Data investments,” he said.