With over 13 years of experience as a decision sciences practitioner with extensive experience in design, development and implementation of data science, Ranajoy Bose, the Solution Engineering Manager – Analytics and Information Management at Oracle Cloud Solutions Hub, has a vast experience in business analytics across various geographies. He spoke to Analytics India Magazine about the bigger role analytics can play in the Indian scenario, cloud computing-based solutions for varied sectors and the joy of working with people who share the spirit of using technology to innovate and solve big problems.
Analytics India Magazine: Tell us about your journey in this sector
Ranajoy Bose: I have around 13 years of experience as a decision sciences practitioner with extensive experience in design, development and implementation of data science, advanced analytics and business intelligence solutions for various industry verticals across multiple geographies. I currently lead the Analytics, Big Data and Data Science platforms out of the Oracle Cloud Solutions and Innovation Hub in Bengaluru, catering to Oracle’s North America Technology Division.
I did my B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from the West Bengal University of Technology and then completed my MS in Telecommunications and Software Engineering from BITS, Pilani. I then pursued a one-year work-integrated learning program on Software Project Management from the IIT Delhi and am currently pursuing the Executive Program in General Management from IIM Bangalore.
My areas of expertise include Statistical Modeling, Data Warehousing and Mining, Machine Learning, Business Intelligence, Data Visualisation and Predictive Analytics. I am keenly interested in areas such as Deep Learning, Neural Networks, Cognitive and Adaptive Intelligence. The cognitive science fascinates me a lot and I have carried out a detailed study on how to devise the most effective data visualisation based on a particular situation applying cognitive science methodologies and neural networks. My research paper A Cognitive Study on Data Visualisation was published in the Fourth International Conference on Business Analytics and Intelligence 2016, held in IISc Bangalore.
AIM: Tell us about the engagements and innovations you are carrying out at Oracle Cloud Solutions Hub
RB: The Oracle Cloud Solutions Hub in Bengaluru is in many ways having a spirit of a new startup organisation inside Oracle. The mission of the organisation and this centre is to build and engineer cutting-edge solutions for our customers around cloud computing, big data/analytics and data science, mobile computing, internet of things, the blockchain, cybersecurity etc. Additional trends we are considering to invest in are Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality and many other exciting technology trends that interest us all. Our mission is simple, we build new and innovative technology solutions for real-world problems that our customers face. And so, we are seeking people who share that spirit of using technology to innovate and solve big problems.
AIM: Can you tell us about some use cases where you used AI, IoT or analytics to solve a real-world problem?
RB: There are a host of such examples and it is really hard for me to choose one. However, a couple of key ones to mention will be the following:
Auto-scaling of Oracle’s Autonomous Data warehouse (ADWC): With the autonomous solutions, Oracle is trying to automate all mundane and administrative tasks that a DBA or IT person has to go through. The goal is to make the data warehouse self-driving, self-securing and self-preparing. With auto-scaling ADWC, we have enabled the business user to literally put their Data Warehouse on autopilot. Moreover, this means their IT division becomes more productive resulting in lowering costs and risks.
Our solution demonstrates how modern Data warehouse should operate in real life business in true elastic nature. Where our customers need to pay exactly what they use. Concisely, the customer has to only create Database tables and upload their data and rest of all the performance optimization will be taken care by our sophisticated machine learning algorithms, which run in the backend and perform all the magic. We developed this feature where our customers only need to pay for resources that they use e.g. number of OCPU per hour and storage in TB. It offers huge cost savings for the customers that observe a spike in their workload in certain times and minimal load otherwise. The true elastic nature of our ML enabled autonomous solution ensures that the no of OCPUs are scaled up to cater to the high load and accomplish the task in lightning speed, and then scale it down as the load decreases.
HVAC Analytics: HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the technology to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. Most IoT visualisations presently are geared toward monitoring what’s happening at a specific point in time. There exists tremendous potential in applying advanced analytics/machine learning on the historic data captured from HVAC. One of our clients had the challenge of not being able to house more than 1 TB of data due to the detrimental impact on performance. 1TB seems like a lot, but not when you’re talking voluminous event data streaming coming from devices like HVAC. We built a connector to easily offload aged IoT data to an Oracle Big Data Cloud (BDC) data lake. With the Data Lake implementation, we were able to amass the streaming data originated from Oracle’s managed PaaS service (IoT Cloud Service) and transform it into a structured form. This structured data was then used as the source for sophisticated machine learning algorithms to predict system failures using Oracle Analytics Cloud. This kind of solution is competent to prevent the general HVAC problems like clogged air filters, leaking refrigerant, thermostat malfunction etc. Anomalies which are not apprehended in regular maintenance can be detected and can discern something insightful from the enormous amount of data.
We are also working with augmented analytics solutions that are slated to be the future of Analytics by many experts. Additional areas that we are working upon span emerging areas like AR/VR and deep learning to empower our users with the next gen of analytics capabilities.
AIM: What is your biggest challenge in the current role?
RB: The Oracle Cloud Solution Hub in Bengaluru has established itself as a Centre of Excellence of sorts over the span of last 3.5 years catering to the entire portfolio of product offerings by Oracle. It has witnessed a phenomenal growth of more than 5 times in the last couple of years catering to the North America Technology Division. The success of this Hub has provided the confidence to the leadership to start 4 additional Hubs in the US during the last 2 years. The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is to keep up the splendid work and continue to improve ourselves in providing innovative technical solutions to solve our customer’s challenges with the same zeal and efficiency, if not better, in the coming years as well.
AIM: What are your and your team’s greatest strengths?
RB: Our biggest strength is that we have in-depth technical knowledge coupled with a strong understanding of business challenges. We have a right blend of youth and experience in the team that provides us with the right balance of cutting edge modern technologies and real-life critical business-problem solving acumen. Also, we have the entire portfolio of Oracle products being catered to, from the same location. This hub constitutes experts of various Cloud services such as SaaS/PaaS/IaaS and cutting edge technologies like IoT/Blockchain/Data Integration/Cybersecurity. Finally, access to an amazing wealth of technical assets and next-gen product suites of Oracle is one of our biggest strengths.
AIM: What do you think about the market scenario in India regarding analytics/IoT/AI?
RB: As a country of 1.3 billion people, we generate enormous volume, velocity and variety of data every minute. The acceptance rate to these technologies across early adopting industries such as e-commerce has increased significantly with reports suggesting that Analytics/AI could add $957 billion to the Indian economy in the coming years. Some sectors like the banking and healthcare have been a tad slow in high tech adoption in the past. But big names like SBI and Narayana Hrudayalaya have shown the way here by embracing the new technologies to improve employee collaboration and productivity by adopting Oracle Cloud.
Analytics/AI could add $957 billion to the Indian economy.
In addition, there are various untapped areas with tremendous potential in terms of applying advanced analytics/ML/AI – e.g. general elections, sports analytics, policy and governance etc. There will be a lot of job openings in this area and we will need people with the right skills. It is heartening that the premier institutes in the country have taken note and started offering new courses specifically focused on these areas. Another game changer will be Government initiatives like Digital India and Smart Cities/Villages. This will create lots of opportunities resulting in smart solutions to a lot of problems for the common people once they embrace and implement these technologies. A great example is the MoU between the Government of Maharashtra and Oracle to create a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Mumbai, to help connect 29,000 villages of Maharashtra and launch government-to-citizen and government-to-business services in the state. The MoU plans to accelerate the state’s digital transformation initiatives, leveraging Oracle’s Cloud solutions and develop the state’s smart city program.
AIM: Do you face any challenges when hiring new talent in the company? What are they?
RB: There is no substantial challenge other than the skill set aspect when hiring new talent. For the experienced people, I feel the real-life experience of understanding and solving business problems that their customers face will help instead of only theoretical knowledge. For the fresh hires, I think they should have a sound understanding of the basic concepts of statistics/computer science.
AIM: Advice for people who are in/want to join the world of New Tech
RB: My first and foremost advice will be to find your calling and don’t just get into the new tech only because it’s regarded as the sexiest job of the century or is considered the latest buzzword. I feel the most important thing at the end of the day is to enjoy what you do and be able to give your best. Also, I believe there is great value in being really good at one thing rather than being average in ten things. So, I would suggest instead of trying to learn every hot tech buzz in the market, pick something that interests you and develop an in-depth expertise in that. You will notice that going forward this will help you in learning additional skills much more efficiently.
AIM: How should SMEs go about inculcating New Tech in their companies?
RB: There has been no better time than today to inculcate new technologies for the companies irrespective of their size, and the single most important reason is Cloud. With the advent of cloud, you no longer need to worry about huge investments on infrastructure and then ponder over the complexities during upgrade/maintenance. For example, with Oracle Cloud, you can easily choose the kind of offerings that you need (SaaS, PaaS or IaaS) and forget the one-time huge investment that you would have to make otherwise. You can pay subscription charges and scale up or down based on your business needs. You also make your IT team more productive by getting rid of mundane administrative tasks like applying patch, upgrades, maintenance etc. and let them focus on getting insights from data, architecting applications, building security best practices and supporting their business users much better. This enables the business to innovate much faster, get rapid insights from data, deploy applications rapidly and bring new products and services to market faster and leapfrog their competition.
AIM: Where do you see India in the New Tech sector in the next five years?
RB: India is the fastest growing economy and in the next 5 years we will continue to see similar growth. We are making enormous progress in terms of technology that is highly efficient and yet very economical. There are various examples from Mars missions to autonomous vehicles where our solutions are at par with the best in the world at a fraction of the cost. In the large cities and large organisations, new technologies are present at large whether it is IoT, ML, AI or AR/VR. So, this will continue to grow in a similar way, but what we need is the democratisation of these technologies by making them accessible to all comers of the country.
I believe a great change will take place as we move towards smart cities/villages. Once we are presented with unfamiliar problems and newer challenges from different corners of the country, the technologies will also evolve and mature. The small village of Mori in Andhra Pradesh, often cited as India’s first smart village is a great example in this regard. Academicians and high tech companies came up with incubation centres to understand the villager’s problems, and then they not only resolved those with new tech solutions such as IoT, Mobile Apps and Analytics but also partnered with the villagers and trained them first hand. I really think this is going to be the way forward in the coming years where technology and innovation will continue to grow, giving way to collaboration from a host of unlikely quarters.