How To Leverage Data To Build Competitive Advantage? | CEOInsights Vendor
How To Leverage Data To Build Competitive Advantage?

How To Leverage Data To Build Competitive Advantage?

Deb Dutta,  General Manager

Deb Dutta

General Manager

Edwards Deming, the father of modern day quality management, once said, “In God we trust; all others must bring data". Whether machines, robotics, artificial intelligence, or any other buzzing technology, almost every road in digitopia leads to data. We have come a long way from data being an enabler to becoming the cornerstone of business decision-making. Not convinced yet? You will probably remember the German national football team’s unbeaten run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup if you love football.

Following a 7-1 victory against Brazil in the semifinals, Germany brought Argentina to their knees in a nail-biting final that went on to win 1-0 in extra time. But the real hero, the 12th man, during their dream run, was big data analytics. Using SAP HANA, Germany recognized their average ball possession time and reduced it from 3.4 seconds to 1.1 seconds. If big data analytics can help win the world cup in 2014, imagine what it can achieve now. As big data has become bulk data over the years data-driven solutions are transforming businesses across the world.

CEO Insights engages in an exclusive interview with Deb Dutta, General Manager Asia Pacific & Japan, DataStax, who navigates us through the latest opportunities and challenges in the data & analytics realm. With close to 25 years of professional experience, Deb is currently building the Asia Pacific and Japan business for DataStax a privately held, Goldman Sachs funded, high growth Unicorn. He is also on the Advisory board of Rhodium Capital, Singapore.

In conversation with Deb Dutta, General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, DataStax.

What role does realtime data play in the context of enterprise data modernization?
Many organizations view data modernization simply as investing in big data and lift shifting their applications from on premise to the cloud. Data modernization success really happens when businesses build micro services-based cloud hosted applications that connect to modern cloud-native databases that are capable of federating the organization’s existing data silos. This framework presents real time data and insight internally to the business and a superior experience for the customers the business serves.

The tools to make realtime decisions to meet changing customer expectations will become essential, particularly for businesses in government, retail, ecommerce, financial services, media, and healthcare. If you aim to stay relevant and competitively move forward, data modernization is only
complete with realtime data integration in their digitalization strategy.

DataStax aims to become the secret weapon of enterprises and CIOs. Could you elaborate on the latest technologies DataStax has introduced to help enterprises become data driven businesses?
Legacy databases are no longer practical to maintain and update. They are costly to manage, tough to scale, and not viable to meet today’s demands for speed, flexibility, and growth. To address these problems, DataStax offers Astra DB, an opensource multicloud server less database built on Apache Cassandra. Astra DB is designed to simplify high growth application building and reduce deployment time from days to minutes.

Data modernization success really happens when businesses build micro services based cloud hosted applications that connect to modern cloud native databases that are capable of federating the organization’s existing data silos

DataStax is more than a database company it is a Data company. Astra DB works in tandem with our Apache Pulsar powered cloudnative messaging and event streaming service, Astra Streaming. It helps businesses mobilize data to build and scale realtime applications while providing optimized views of their data in motion for faster decision making. Astra DB and Streaming collaborate with our partner, Decodable’s SQL-based stream processing platform powered by Apache Flink, to enable developers and data engineering teams to connect, process, and deliver data to power modern, realtime applications, deliver in the moment customer experiences and enable machine learning. Astra DB and Streaming also collaborate with our partner Voltron Data’s technology that accelerates standards in data analytics based on open-source Apache Arrow. With Voltron’s Arrownative IO, DataStax customers can easily interoperate with numerous data science libraries and projects, removing friction and multiple data copies. The outcome customers will be able to build Arrow native analytics applications on Astra DB, Astra Streaming, and DataStax Enterprise with substantial ease.

How do enterprises become data leaders, and what are the common stumbling blocks that they need to overcome?
With the explosion in data volume, leveraging data to build a competitive advantage is crucial for businesses to be on the front foot. Back in the 2010s, it was about initiating digital transformation through integrating technology to improve business processes. Today, we are in the modernization era where, beyond adopting technology, businesses must use data for business agility deeper personalization, customer experience, productivity, and revenue growth.
Many organizations have initiated digital transformation but are yet to reach the levels required to be data leaders. Open source technologies can deliver these capabilities without vendor lock-in. However deploying, configuring, and operating them requires great skills, complex interfaces, and significant time and investment. Many projects fail to take off due to this fearful perception.

The journey to becoming a datadriven leader starts at the top. A company needs a C-suite and a corporate culture that drives the business with a data-driven mindset, data accessibility and tolerance for failures. They operate tightly coupled pods represented by the business the developers the data scientist with success metrics. These pods are collectively mandated to build information infrastructure where data is federated across applications and ready for realtime insights for the business and its customers.

What are your thoughts on the awareness of the benefits of realtime data among Indian businesses? Is it at a good level, or more needs to be done?
One thing businesses have learned in the last two years is that we are now operating in a new era of instant customer experience. Rapid digitalization triggered by the pandemic has driven customers to expect businesses to be instantly responsive and their products, services, and solutions to be always available and accessible when ever they need them.

Indian businesses realize that the biggest competitive differentiator today is customer experience. They are taking necessary steps to develop or reinvent themselves into more customer-centric organizations and deliver their products, services, or customer experience in real time. There’s always room for improvement, but based on current trends, awareness and interest are definitely on an upward trajectory.

As a tech leader, what skills do you look for in potential candidates?
In new hires, I seek hard skills related to the role, soft skills needed for team and customer centricity, track record in execution; but above all, I seek the ‘right’ attitude.

Deb Dutta, General Manager, Apac & Japan
Favorite Hobbies: Reading, Traveling, and Tennis.
Favorite Cuisines: Indian, Italian, and Singaporean street food.
Favorite Movies: The Big Short and Catch 22.
Favorite Books: The Fountainhead, Not a penny more - Not a penny less, and Freakonomics.
Favorite Travel Destination: Rome and Bali

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