PUTRAJAYA: The Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) aims to increase the digital economy contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) to 17% of the economy by 2020 via the Digital Malaysia 354 Roadmap. The National Big Data Analytics (BDA) Initiative, which was rolled out to unlock the value of data to fuel the digital economy outcomes of wealth creation, productivity enhancement and standards of living improvement, is part of the Digital Malaysia 354 Roadmap. "BDA has the potential to create new ICT jobs and even professions. There is currently a major skills gap for data scientists with experience in big data analytics. According to Gartner, big data demand will reach 4.4 million jobs globally by 2015, with two-thirds of these positions remaining unfilled," MDeC vice president of corporate strategy Datuk Dan E Khoo said at a media briefing on Digital Malaysia last Friday. Four government-initiated BDA pilot projects have been kick-started as part of the early push for BDA utilisation in the public sector. The four areas are price watch, sentiment analysis, crime prevention and infectious disease forecasting. There are currently 139 MSC Malaysia-status companies operating in the BDA space. "BDA is no longer a futuristic abstract concept but is something that is already happening today. MDeC believes that Malaysia is ready to embrace the vast opportunities that BDA has to offer as we sow the seeds to grow Malaysia into a high-income country driven by innovations of the digital economy by 2020," said Khoo. In Malaysia's digital economy, the ICT sector contributed 12% to the national GDP in 2012, amounting to RM113 billion out of the total national GDP of RM941 billion. Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the surge in global data, which is expected to hit 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020, does not mean much if businesses do not capture, integrate and analyse the wealth of data to uncover new insights about their customers, products, markets and operations. "It is thus imperative for key public and private players in Malaysia's digital economy to unlock the value driven by data to create spillover multiplier benefits such as game-changing innovations, productivity gains and competitiveness enhancements," he said. He said the implementation of BDA solutions will enable governments, businesses and the rakyat to gain feedback and insights that can improve the decision-making process.