Based in Singapore, Deepak Ramanathan is the Senior Director, Practices, Asia Pacific for SAS. He is a member of the SAS Center of Excellence for Analytics Platforms supporting the technology platform initiatives across the Asia Pacific region and he works with organisations in formulating their analytics strategies and helping them craft out the supporting infrastructure.
Ramanathan is responsible for the data and analytics platform, visualisation and advanced analytics - or data science - practices within SAS for the Asia Pacific region, along with solidly customer-facing work in campaign solutions, digital marketing, customer intelligence, customer experience and the customer journey.
As such, Ramanathan has an excellent insight into APAC trends.
Australia, he says, has historically lead cloud adoption in the region while other countries had a more restrained, observational approach. Even so, the rush towards cloud is frenetic with greater adoption in all areas. Ramanathan notes this is reflected objectively in the acceleration by Cloud Service Providers in setting up instances in different geographies "whether Mumbai, Tokyo, Singapore," he said.
SAS runs its product strategy on business outcomes, Ramanathan says, and while the APAC market is non-homogeneous with analytical maturity levels varying, "one key thread across every nation is 80 to 90% of the banking community in this part of the world is using SAS in some form," he said.
- North Asia, specifically China, Japan and Korea, have a larger manufacturing presence and leverages SAS' solutions to address quality and maintenance, including high-tech chip manufacturers as well as traditional manufacturing.
- Australia focuses on Government, procurement fraud, risk, intelligence and law enforcement. "Banks and insurance are in the next modernisation phase," Ramanathan says. "They are currently sharpening their claws trying to understand how these technologies provide the disruptor they are looking for and help them provide product and service innovation."
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations - or ASEAN - is a "mixed bag," Ramanathan says, but primarily leverages SAS for solutions across financial services, telco and manufacturing.
- Meanwhile, India and South Asia drive a lot of Government and tax fraud analytics. "These are big on the radar right now," he says.
A major concern of the APAC region right now is the coronavirus, with travel disrupted around China and, in some cases, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Despite travel restrictions, "we've adapted by having face-to-face virtual environments. Our teams are still engaged," Ramanathan said.
Even so, the coronavirus has not been without impact. "The Chinese New Year holidays were extended and the Government asked people to stay put," Ramanathan explained. "The safety of our employees is of paramanount importance," he said, also explaining customers were similarly concerned to go into their own offices and while this is mostly in large cities like Shanghai there has been a visible slowdown in the China operations.
Globally, Mobile World Congress (MWC) was cancelled after large vendors like Huawei and Amazon pulled out and the impact cascaded. SAS' interest in MWC centres around the significant telecommunications footprint the company has, Ramanathan explained, providing solutions to subscriber fraud, churn, network analytics and other items to major telcos worldwide.
Results as a service
Ramanathan also explained any company can get a head start into analytics, no matter if they know what they wish to achieve or how to begin.
"Look at the industry they are in, look at our success stories of SAS customers globally who have these use cases and let it be an accelerator for them. They can have access to the global knowledge of SAS Then sit and try and work out what is their current business process," he said.
SAS has various solutions in line with today's managed service economy, such as Results as a Service. "Rather than invest, they pass data to us and we deliver actionable results to them," he said.
"If you give us your data we have data scientists and infrastructure and can give back a report plus some deep analytics - who are my customers at risk, say - or a report with customer segmentations where we identify these customers are at risk of leaving because their churn probability is 80% say," Ramanathan said.
"It's a great starting point for customers. The barriers to disruption have come down and a lot of companies are interested in how this can help them but don't want to invest in underlying resources. Results as a Service can minimise risk for customers and get them used to analytical culture and making decisions based on data."