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Thursday, August 13, 2020

CDC Hosts Talk on Big Data in Consumer and Industry Internet

August 13, 2020. Shanghai – How does big data empower market insights in the consumer-packaged goods industry? And, what is the essence of digital transformation of industrial enterprises? At the Industry Influencers Talk hosted today by the CEIBS Career Development Center (CDC), two alumni from the technology industry shared their insights on some big questions surrounding big data and digital transformation with current MBA students. During the event, Zhang Feng (MBA2014), General Manager of H&T Information Service Company and Lang Yan (EMBA2005), Director of Government, PTC, shared their perspectives on big data from both the “demand side” and “supply side”.

As GM of H&T, a key player in the big data application field, Zhang Feng has worked with global clients such as FAW-VW, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson and RedBull. Prior to H&T, he accumulated more than 10 years of product management experience in the telecom industry.

According to Zhang Feng, big data helps people understand the world in a more accurate and insightful way. Specifically, through the process of data collection, data cleaning, data coding, data analysis, report writing, and system display, business enterprises can acquire “super sensing capabilities” and become more precise decision-makers and quick implementers, as a result of strong data support for wiser decision making and more agile execution.

Zhang Feng’s team once applied mass social media data to conduct market research into target customers for a well-known German automotive brand. Through big data analysis, the target group’s gender, location, behaviour habits and models, characteristics, and even the people and things they were interested in and concerned about, could be clearly presented. This approach, he explained, provided strong support for further communication and interaction strategies between the automotive manufacturer and its consumers.

“These insights are not only extremely costly, but also almost impossible to achieve, if using conventional research methods,” Zhang Feng said.

In another domestic auto market consumer trend research conducted by Zhang Feng’s team, the insights and conclusions drawn from big data analysis were more comprehensive and sharper than traditional research, offering deeper and solid testimony for decision-making optimisation.

In Lang Yan’s view, the future will be intelligent and fully interconnected. Not only will big data become more and more powerful on the demand side, industrial enterprises on the supply side will also transform digitally to become far more data-driven.

In the past, business systems at traditional enterprises – such as production and operation controls, process monitoring and CRM – worked independently without much data shared, resulting in a variety of isolated information islands. However, with the digital transformation of infrastructure – specifically, with the advent of the industrial internet platform – data could be connected and shared. Together with the addition of new technologies such as cloud, big data, Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning, all of the stages of the value chain could be empowered.

As Lang Yan explained, this “interconnection” helps companies see what is happening; “data insights” ensure that companies can see accurately and understand the underlying reasons behind what is happening; and “data intelligence” can enable companies to not only foresee what is going to happen and be prepared, but also to achieve self-optimisation and autonomous adaptation.

Lang Yan predicts that based on the market trend and urgency of industrial digitalised transformation, the next few years will see a peak in the business process transformation of industrial enterprises. Correspondingly, the industrial internet will create vast career development opportunities as part of a booming industry.

Is it possible for a candidate without a technology background to get into the consumer internet or industrial internet business? During the Q&A session, Zhang Feng responded that the one of the advantages CEIBS MBA students have lies in their understanding and sense of business. CEIBS MBA students can play an important role by acting as a bridge linking the business world and technology experts. Zhang Feng added that for those without technical background, however, they should at least have an understanding of technological implementation principles.

Lang Yan also suggested that MBA students take advantage of whatever applicable selling points they have in order to differentiate themselves. For example, for students with an IT background, conventional industrial companies now looking to undergo digital transformation can be good choice. As these companies have very strong demand for recruits with IT backgrounds, MBA students with industrial backgrounds will have a competitive advantage if they join big platforms or specialised data companies. Additionally, he added, with the increase of industrial internet-related investment in recent years, students with experience in an industrial internet investment company may also see broader career prospects.

Loewe Wang
Michael Donald Thede