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Three ways that big data, the cloud and AI can accelerate digital transformation for Philippine businesses

The age of intelligence is here. Today there is an immense opportunity for enterprises to differentiate themselves from the competition by leveraging big data and advanced analytics solutions.

This was the key lesson learned at Data Amp, an online event staged by leading enterprise cloud provider Microsoft. At the event, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + Enterprise, and Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president, Microsoft Data Group, demonstrated the possibilities offered by big data and cloud technology, and provided insights on how innovation in data, intelligence and analytics help companies achieve true digital transformation.

The Philippines is itself seeing a boom in cloud adoption, both in the public and private sectors. The Philippine government, following the establishment of the Department of Information and Communications Technology in 2016, has adopted a “cloud first” policy in order to provide improved services to citizens. Many private companies are following suit, with organizations like Manila Water demonstrating how digital transformation can at once improve operational efficiencies and overall service delivery.

“This is a key moment for companies that wish to go digital,” says Herns Hermida, Cloud and Enterprise Business Group Lead. “Already we’ve seen how Microsoft cloud services give our local partners better business data than ever before, and the tools they need to put that data to good use. That the Philippine government itself is going all-out for the cloud is testament to the benefits offered by digital transformation.”

A recent McKinsey research study found that companies that use analytics extensively are twice as likely to outperform the competition in terms of sales, profit, growth and ROI. This has manifested in a rapid adoption of big data and cloud services – a trend that is only expected to accelerate. According to IDC, the worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from $130.1 billion in 2016 to more than $203 billion in 2020.

The top three benefits emerging across multiple industries and use cases, as well as a glimpse into how Microsoft customers are accelerating their digital transformation, are explained below.

1. Optimize manufacturing with real-time analytics

Manufacturers large and small have transformed by capturing and analyzing live streaming data from production lines. Hershey Company uses big data and advanced analytics services on Azure to optimize licorice production using intelligent sensors on factory line extruders. This “internet of licorice” allows Hershey to dynamically manage production. Deschutes Brewery, an American craft brewery, uses big data and advanced analytics services to drive operational efficiency and saves an average of 48 hours for every batch of beer it brews. Deschutes achieved this by optimizing its production process through real- time data analytics, saving millions of dollars in expansion costs.

2. Make decisions fast with accessible data insights

Modern banks thrive on data, but accessible insights from this data are the true differentiator. Heartland Bank, a leading New Zealand bank, wanted a new analytics platform that would give its business users direct access to customer credit insights and performance KPIs. Its legacy analytics systems were only accessible to IT, and hence delayed decision-making. Using SQL Server R Services, Hartland built a new, open platform that’s not just accessible for business users, it’s also faster than anything it used before. “We are using R Server to build a data-first culture at the bank by ensuring that executives have the numbers to back up their instincts,” says Chris Murray, head of Enterprise Data at Heartland Bank.

3. Cut costs with intelligent demand forecasting

Gaining value from historical data to better predict future needs can increase efficiency and save costs. Carnival Maritime churned an ocean of data to improve demand forecasting. Keeping track of the consumption of water onboard a cruise ship is a complex equation. Carnival used Cortana Intelligence Suite to better predict how much water a ship will need for a specific route, saving each ship more than $200,000.