One of the most widely used terms in market-speak at present is “Big Data”. What the impact of harnessing the seemingly unlimited potential of Big Data on Africa’s fastest growing regional economy remains to be seen. But before I go into making assumptions, first one needs to have a clear definition of what Big Data means.
Big Data. In short, these are extremely large data sets used to predict trends and provide more holistic insights. It’s not just your customer/transactional data, but also the macro-market data, that can safely steer your business through the myriad obstacles and threats of our increasingly digital world.
To quantify the value of Big Data, a McKinsey report estimates that it could create an additional $3bn in value across a handful of significant industries (mostly financial services). But how does that translate to the East African market which is in it’s infancy of consumer commoditisation?
Having spoken to a good handful of very smart and insightful people across the region, there is a dearth of valuable customer data, let alone swathes of contextualised Big Data. The majority of data available goes through one pipe – owned by MNOs – and is carefully protected by legislation to prevent an oligopoly across all services from banking through to telco and retail. Disruptors in the market, many of whom are succeeding in attracting active customers, are building their own data sets and insights, but how are all parties able to come together?
Consider the disruption of M-Pesa and how it reshaped the buyer/seller landscape in Kenya; does anyone using Shillings anymore? Global mega-conglomerate Google has moved into Kenya in a big way, providing platforms that give users far greater access to services they need and desire. It’s a smart move as increasingly numbers of consumers in the country are becoming active almost exclusively online. Companies like Liquid Telecom are partnering with Strathmore University in Nairobi to support these Big Data initiatives. Big Data is being collected, stored, analysed and packaged for re-use.
While this is a great step forward, what does it mean for business and ultimately the consumer at the end of the day? The Chinese Walls that exist across businesses and sectors need to come down. It’s a Kumbaya moment, where companies need to learn to work together for the greater good of the economy, the customer and for sustained economic growth.
This is your opportunity to discuss how Big Data holds the key to economic prosperity for your business and the community at large. Join East Africa’s leading data analytics professionals at DataCon East Africa 2018 at the Hilton Nairobi from 11-12 September. For booking details, click here.