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By 19 June 2015 | Categories: news

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At an art exhibition made possible by Microsoft South Africa, six local artists showcased their depiction of how people and organisations can employ technology to transform Big Data into actionable insights for real life application. The six artworks are currently in display to the public in the Mr. Price Court of Sandton City for the next two weeks, until 3 July.   

Artworks by Elizma de Villiers (left) and Izel van der Merwe (right). 

Seeing the Bigger Picture

To illustrate the business benefits that big data analytics can unlock for local companies and communicate how international big data trends are relevant for local consumers, Microsoft partnered with local trend analyst, Dion Chang.  

Chang asserted that the world of the consumer is changing; with the use and analytical power of big data, consumers are able to redefine the way they engage with brands, companies and services. Focusing on his most recent research findings in the retail sector through his company Flux Trends, Chang went on to state that retailers no longer compete against their local, provincial or national competitors, but with global players.

Artwork by Njabulo Mziyane.

These global competitors are capable of quoting prices in local currencies and delivering products and services in the same timeframe as a local business is able to. To stay relevant to the customer, retail companies have to anticipate changes in buying patterns and product turnover by tapping into the power of big data.  

With the Art Exhibition, Microsoft is asking to forget about the tech-jargon behind the phrase and to rather imagine a world where everyone can be empowered through information and see the big picture behind all the data that is coming their way.

According to Microsoft SA, this scenario is possible today thanks to the end-to-end big data solution they currently have available. The technological tools available to consumers and companies, which allow them to analyse, interpret, and make sense of this massive amount of information, are familiar tools (Excel, SQL), providing a platform to organisations to better empower themselves for the consumer-everything era.

A closer look at Mziyane's artwork. 

Deciphering Big Data's Value

Along with Chang, Microsoft SA also tapped local company Tracker to weigh in on the value of big data. A leading vehicle tracking company in South Africa, Microsoft says Tracker is just one business that has been leveraging the company's big data platforms. Tracker has been collecting information through the nodes of its customer database of vehicles, and is utilising analytics to transform that data into useful insights for organisations such as the Johannesburg Roads Agency in order to help contribute to improvements that can make a difference to consumers' lives, such as the timeous repair of potholes.  

For Tracker, the next step is the possibility of all of the company’s consumers were able to access real-time information about traffic issues, or their tendencies behind the wheel of a car. This could potentially provide them with the big picture of their risk profile and enable them to better negotiate their own risk ratings with insurance companies around the pricing structure for their insurance coverage.

Artwork by Nkululeko Buthelezi. 

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