The era of data analytics revolution is real: Noshin Kagalwalla, SAS

Analytics isn’t an afterthought for digital businesses with the advent of new technologies like IoT, ML and AI, says Noshin Kagalwalla, MD at SAS India.


Data explosion through multiple devices and the real-time customer experience has led to companies adopting analytics solutions more than ever. We should be the first name for companies and their CIOs to think of when they want to solve the business problems with advanced analytics solutions, says Noshin Kagalwalla, managing director at SAS India. Edited Experts:

How do you see the state of analytics change in 2018 for India? Do you see new variants or flavors like predictive analytics and visual analytics to gain maturity?

The analytics market is significantly matured in India now than couple of years ago. We have been in India for 18 years. When we started off – or a decade ago, the early adopters of analytics was primarily the banking space. They had implemented core banking, they had data in a format and they were leading technology innovation from an analytics perspective. From there to now, the demand for analytics is actually spanning across industries. Banking continues to adopt analytics in a large way. There are other industries like telecommunications, manufacturing and surprisingly even public sector/ governments adopting analytics in a large way.

“CIOs are the champions to make data available in the form needed by various departments of the company to enable the analytic solutions to perform well and hence deliver business benefits.”


                      Noshin Kagalwalla, Managing Director, SAS India

In the past, the analytics was primarily to do with structured data. But in past few years, more types of data which are more unstructured data from blog and social media, is subjected to analytics. Also data which was Static with IoT and sensors on devices, streaming data also playing a major role from analytics perspective. As we move forward, newer variety of data sources have emerged and data which was originally static is now becoming part of real-time or near–real-time. This is where the companies are seeing value.

The growing trend of IoT, AI, ML, and cognitive will add lot of data and more complexity to the company’s IT infra.
That’s true. According to various reports, the data generated in last two years is more than the data generated in the entire history of human mankind. Gartner estimates 8.7 billion connected devices in 2017 which will reach 20 Billion by 2020. Data has exploded and will continue to grow at exponential pace. Truly we are living in data analytics revolution to a large extent. The computing power has increased significantly on account of better connectivity and cloud offerings. And the new tech areas like ML, DL, and IoT will generate more need for this analytics. 


1. Advanced analytics

2.Data Management

3. Risk Management

4. Customer Management

5. Fraud management 

Do you foresee 2018 as year of chief analytics officer or chief data officer? Are these new designations becoming prevalent across Indian enterprises?  
More organizations rightfully so are recognizing that data is very important and critical to drive innovation. As a result the analytics discussion is now part of board room discussions in several companies. Many have set up analytics centers of excellence primarily on how they can leverage data for decision making across the entire organization. 

We see chief data officer and chief analytics officer gain prominence in companies. We also see lot of analytics decisions being driven by CEOs or departmental heads. Like chief risk officer for driving risk analytics or CMO for driving customer acquisition analytics. And CIO is definitely a key part to make it happen.

What will SAS and its GTM constitute in 2018 in terms of value prop, technology areas and verticals for India market? 

Banking will continue to be prime focus besides other verticals like manufacturing, telecom, and government. We have significant growth in these verticals and the customers have seen value of analytics solutions. 

Broadly speaking we will focus on the five areas from the solutions perspective in 2018 and going forward. First one is advanced analytics and how companies use advanced analytics capabilities to drive decisions analytics. SAS leads this space with 31.6 percent market share globally as per IDC. Companies are looking for solutions in data management space with the increased variety of data, volume of data, streaming data from IoT, Social. Risk management is another key area in 2018 as we have solutions like credit risk, market risk, operational risks and are moving to IFRS 9.

SAS has offerings in the customer management domain whether cross selling, helping companies attract profitable customers, or identifying segment of customers to sell more products. And finally we are focused more on fraud management solutions working with government agencies like central bureau of central taxes to identify nexus, or working with central board or excise and customs. And tax fraud solutions as we work with the government of India. The fraud solutions are applicable to banking sector also.


- Identify the business problem by making the data available in the desired form.

- Deploy analytics as project based for BU demonstrate revenue addition or cost saving.

- Adopt the new analytics lifecycle approach from sample model to in-memory computing.

- Democratize the data with access to right data for the right people of the company.

- Continuously refine and add quality data to get the best business benefits.

What will be Noshin’s bucket list for CIOs in 2018 with respect to their analytics strategy? Any pitfalls they should avoid?
CIOs have an important role to play because data management is an integral part for a modern company and hence build the analytics decision around its business. CIOs are the champions to make data available in the form and structure needed for various departments of the company to enable analytic solutions to perform well and add business benefits. 

We believe CIOs play a role in identifying the business problem and then solve it by bringing the data in the desired form. Like the company looking to solving risk from risk management perspective. The analytics lifecycle approach is also changing from the past of a sample model. Now in-memory computing can be done faster and on larger scale to improve accuracy.
Finally democratization of data so that it is available for many people in the company backed with right security and relevant policy to the right people.

Does analytics work the best as a big bang approach or ‘baby steps’ for most of the companies?
Data analytics is a journey wherein IT leaders have to continuously refine and add quality data to get the best business benefits. The companies need to identify the business problem, deploy analytics solution on a project-based approach and demonstrate revenue addition or cost saving. Then it becomes a self-fueling IT project to extend to other BUs and departments as per their requirements. 

SAS works mostly with enterprises and large enterprises. Do you see analytics and its value trickling down to mid-market and even SMBs in future? 
Our main customer segment has been several enterprises and large enterprises as they are more matured at different levels of analytics journey. And continue to invest with us. However over time we see significant demand from mid-market and we do have solutions and technologies for that segment. 

Enterprises are more analytically mature as a single repository and they would have done level of data visualization, they might have implemented advanced analytics whether in risk management or fraud management. Mid-market companies are consolidating on solutions like data visualization and most of them are expected to embark on analytics solutions in 2018 and beyond.