Indonesia Tatler recently had the pleasure to sit down and have a private chat with the Chairman of Association of Big Data Indonesia, Rudi Rusdiah, who also served as one of the keynote speakers at Fintech Festival (FinFest) 2018. Rudi enlightened us as to the definition of big data, its latest trends, and the future of the Indonesian digital industry.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m the Chairman of Association of Big Data Indonesia and CEO of Micronics Internusa, which is a distributor of IT enterprise solutions. Although most people are familiar with us as a distributor of IT enterprise services, we are expanding and have done more things recently. Due to the development of technology and its fast pace of change, we are moving into solutions for big data, big data training, Blockchain, Blockchain workshops, and more.
How would you explain big data briefly so that it’s understandable?
It’s actually very difficult to define big data. However, most people tend to define it according to the four Vs. The first is volume, since it’s an explosive amount of data, which is why it’s known as big data. Secondly is variety, as there are so many kinds of data, whether structured or unstructured. Structured data is the data of Word and Excel, and unstructured is Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media.
Next is veracity: the truth of the data is what’s important. Lastly, value: if there is no value when you collect the data then there’s no point. Therefore, you have to give insights, which will be used by enterprises, government, and others in order to achieve their vision and mission.
Why is it important for us to know or keep up with trends in big data?
Its inevitability—and I always mention inevitability. The growing of data is not sudden, and big data didn’t establish instantly. Since the PC revolution, as Bill Gates once said, there’s information at your fingertips. Later, there was the Internet where the PCs can all be connected—as a result, data is everywhere on the Internet and it’s growing. Also, data is growing due to social media. Therefore, creating big data is not just necessary, it’s an evolution and it’s a journey. With the development of technology, data has been able to grow.
Why is it important to share data in the current business climate?
People say that information is power. WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange said that there’s inequality in the symmetry of information. For instance, farmers lack access to information compared with a middleman who has the data and knows the price. He or she can then buy the goods at lower prices from the farmer. The farmer isn’t aware that he or she is selling the goods at low prices because he or she doesn’t have data. Consequently, the farmer will get lower profits and the middleman will get bigger profits because he will resell at a high price. The farmer will remain poor—it’s a result of inequality.
It’s important to share data because technology goes to the collaborative, peer-to-peer shared economy so that we can all share information. Many businesses can be shared now. For instance, you don’t have to work for a taxi company. If you have a car, you can work for Grab and you’re already in business. The same goes with Airbnb: it does not have to be centralised as you can rent your room on Airbnb. Therefore, it’s a shared economy, peer to peer, and we hope to give equality.
What are your thoughts about data privacy?
There are two data custodians who have a lot of data. One that is powerful in the industry is Telkom. Now, there are 146 million people connected in the Internet in Indonesia, while 196 million people who have mobile phones. Meanwhile, in banking, BRI has millions of savings accounts. These companies have big data. They can use the data to get insights and use the insights to improve and achieve their goals.
However, we have to make sure that the data is not misused because the data is private. Currently there’s no law regarding that in Indonesia, but hopefully a law will be implemented soon with which privacy is protected—otherwise, there’s no protection and privacy for consumers of banks, or even on social media. Also, you’re giving your data for free and they can use your data. Our association’s goal is to make data good for insights while still maintaining data privacy.
How to solve the data privacy problem and how is it going to be beneficial for us?
As I said before, one the four Vs is value, so if big data cannot give insights that provide value and which can benefit a company, a nation, or an institution, then it’s useless. It’s substantial to give insights and value, otherwise there’s no point of processing the data.
What is the next generation of data analytics and data science transforming the Indonesian digital industry?
The next phase after big data is AI (artificial intelligence) because AI depends on big data. AI is robotic, and it has to learn from data. A robot will learn more as you ask more questions because it’s obtaining more data and it becomes smarter.
The challenge is that robots are efficient and can work for long hours compared with humans who get tired after six hours of working. People are afraid that robots will replace people and they’ll be unemployed. However, in the future there will be new kinds of jobs. Until today, employment has kept on rising. You have to be on the right track and adapt to the development of technology. Don’t be beaten by computers and robots [laughs].
Speaking of work, how do you make sure your employees stay motivated and how do you support corporate culture?
I believe in the kind of change that goes very fast. As a CEO, I try to keep up with technology. When we’re keeping up with technology, we must keep up with changes in corporate culture as well and encourage employees to move with us. The ones who are not able to follow will be left behind. Again, change is inevitable. We have to see what the next interesting business is and go along with the change. If something is disrupted, then we have to find the solution.
What are the big milestones that you’re hoping to achieve in 2018 and beyond?
Actually, we are trying to keep surviving by adopting technology. Especially with the current economy being not as good as before, we have to be efficient and transform by finding new opportunities.