Data#3 managing director, John Grant, said he was cynical about the label 'Big Data' as it focuses on the selling of features instead of its benefits. "It's not a question of if 2013 is the year of Big Data but rather of focusing on if organisations want to know what information is available about their business and if they can analyse it in different ways to make business decisions," he said.
Distribution Central managing director, Nick Verykios, said Big Data does not mean anything to businesses unless the term analytics is added to it.
"The availability of automated analytics tools used on data that has been collected for compliance has altered Big Data analytics conversations from 'it can' to 'it should' to 'it must'. Suddenly we go from something that's difficult to do to the ability to execute on critical activity," Verykios said.
But Purvis said although the analytics of Big Data are the most lucrative area, having a data protection and migration strategy is a must. "I can choose whether or not to put an engine above and over my data to do analytics; I can choose to do it with spread sheets or PowerPoint. But what I can't choose to do is have a data protection strategy."
According to Verykios, resellers may be in the Big Data collection, storage or backup and recovery space but they collectively have to invest in the analytics space for their Big Data strategy to be complete. They should not only participate in understanding Big Data but also invest in the right storage technology that can handle Big Data analytics, he claimed.
"Resellers have to align themselves with storage architecture vendors that can handle Big Data analytics, and with data analytics product providers in software or traditional hardware or both. They have to then provide customers with consulting services."
Grant agreed, claiming that resellers should figure out which aspect of Big Data they want to play in, focus on it and provide customers with expertise to sort through choices they've got around information management and information analytics.
"Once they do that, they've got a direct path to being a provider of data back-up and recovery, storage and analytics, which together with consultation, is the complete solution."
Purvis said the channel should provide the SMB space with enterprise grade capability either through as-a -service or the Cloud.
"You've got to segment the market. More and more businesses are going to move towards a managed service provider model and typically, those kinds of models have only been available to the medium-large enterprise customers."
Rahim also said the services sector is the most lucrative industry for the channel to get involved in. "There is a large opportunity for service organisations, particularly in the mid-market where businesses may only just be starting on their journey and may not necessarily have the skill sets to be able to derive value from that."
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