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March 18, 2014

Businesses slow to capitalise on big data opportunities

By Mark Eggleton

Sydney - March 18, 2014 - More than half of companies in the Asia Pacific region don’t really understand what big data means and the majority have been slow to adopt big data strategies according to a report undertaken by The Economist Intelligence Unit last year.

Commissioned by Hitachi Data Systems, the Hype and the Hope report found while organisations in the Asia Pacific lagged behind, around 70 per cent of those surveyed believed data would improve productivity, innovation and profitability in their companies. Moreover, nearly half suggested big data would boost profits by 25 per cent or more.

Unfortunately, nearly 90 per cent blame internal factors for the slow adoption of big data strategies with a lack of communication seen as the biggest hindrance.

According to Hitachi Data Systems Asia Pacific Chief Technology Officer, Adrian De Luca, Australia has been particularly slow to adopt although the time is right now.

While data has always been around, De Luca says with technology now commoditised (and available to all), the real point of difference for business and government is the ability to garner such an enormous amount of data intelligence. In business this is especially true for highly competitive industries such as finance and retail.

“Industries where making 2 per cent to 4 per cent difference makes a lot of difference,” De Luca says.

A good example of a company finding incremental differences and shaking up an industry through data is US online investment adviser SigFig which has grown rapidly to a point where the platform now attracts around $US200 billion in assets.

Amazon alumnus and SigFig co-founder Mike Sha says the product simply analyses individual investment portfolios in a transparent manner using technology.

“Basically we have a website, mobile app and a tablet app. The first thing users do is link all their brokerage accounts. We download all their data and take a data-driven scientific approach to analyse their portfolio.

“We can then tell you what you’re doing wrong and what you can do better,” Sha says.

He says what SigFig usually finds is most people have totally “messed-up” portfolios.

“Each person’s data is analysed immediately ‘on the fly’ using technology. It does take away from the idea that there is a dark art to investing.

“Historically this was true to an extent but it’s not a dark art today. Getting into a low-cost, diversified portfolio is relatively easy, especially if you’re investing in fair and transparent capital markets such as the US or Australia.”

Sha says rather than making enemies of traditional brokerages, SigFig works with all major US brokerages.

“SigFig also has large major distribution partners in the US where we power portfolio tools for third parties such as Yahoo, CNN, US Today and AOL. We integrate across their websites and apps with the same product as our users.

“What we’re doing is getting people to take action with their investments by providing a very simple service driven by technology and data. It’s an industry that’s pretty easy to improve because the bar is set pretty low, especially here in the US.”

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About Hitachi Data Systems

Hitachi Data Systems provides information technologies, services and solutions that help companies improve IT costs and agility, and innovate with information to make a difference in the world. Our customers gain compelling return on investment (ROI), unmatched return on assets (ROA), and demonstrable business impact. With approximately 6,300 employees worldwide, Hitachi Data Systems does business in more than 100 countries and regions. Our products, services and solutions are trusted by the world's leading enterprises, including more than 70% of the Fortune 100 and more than 80% of the Fortune Global 100. Visit us at

About Hitachi Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society's challenges with our talented team and proven experience in global markets. The company's consolidated revenues for fiscal 2013 (ended March 31, 2014) totaled 9,616 billion yen ($93.4 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, power systems, construction machinery, high functional materials & components, automotive systems, healthcare and others. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at

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Hitachi Data Systems
Isabel Wagner
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