What is the biggest buzzword in the IT market today?
Cloud? SoLoMo? Gamification?
What about Big Data? Everyone is jumping on the big data bandwagon. And for good reason.
According to industry analyst Colin White from BI Research (pictured), “Big data is more than just high volumes of multi structured data. In reality big data represents an entirely new ecosystem – it’s the creation of new markets, new opportunities and the next wave of analytical value for organizations.”
Big data is to the IT industry as zombie movies are to the motion picture industry. It’s hugely popular, has its own subculture, can be scary and, most importantly, there is money to be made. The term might be overhyped, but the truth is there is tremendous value in aligning, managing, analyzing and deploying the results of that analysis to guide decision making.
In fact, organizations that aren’t thinking of how to leverage big data today could themselves become zombies tomorrow – aimlessly wandering, unaware of its surroundings and barely alive.
To this end, White will be discussing how organizations can separate the big data hype from reality in an upcoming webinar (Wednesday, Aug. 29 at noon EDT) that takes a detailed look at how new styles of analytics and implementations of big data can optimize business processes.
In speaking to White about this hype, one of his main issues is that the marketing discussion on big data tends to be focused on the data and data management and less on analytics.
“While it’s important to align and organize big data, it's what you do with it that actually matters,” said White. “And, that’s why I think big analytics is so important.”
In other words, big data without analytics is like a flashlight without batteries. Big analytics powers the business and shines the light on where to go next.
Improvements in technologies in both data management and analytics have injected further excitement into a market that is poised to be $54 billion by 2017.
White discussed the following improvements that enable organizations to improve information content and use analytics to drive day-to-day business operations:
· Data management and processing: optimizing analytical database products for better price performance, the addition of non-relational systems (e.g., Hadoop), and stream processing systems.
· Business analytics: sophisticated analytical analysis functions and processes, advanced visualization and interaction, and automating decision processing through decision management systems.
Given all these changes, I asked White what businesses can do to wrap their arms around big data analytics?
“Up until now, IT organizations have had centralized data warehouses. They will still be core to the business, but all these new technologies are extending the enterprise data warehouse with the addition of streaming systems, data management systems, Hadoop and appliances. These aren't standalone pieces; they all have to work together.”
But the key, says White, is for organizations to stay focused on the business problem and identify projects across the business where it can really be useful (e.g., combating fraud, reducing churn, increasing up-sell, optimizing smart grids, predicting equipment failures, etc.).
White also asks organizations to remember the following:
· Focus on the workload needed to solve the problem and that will decide the platform. People are too focused with starting with new technologies, such as Hadoop.
· Big data will lead to data flowing into the data warehouse that is not 100 percent clean, but is still really useful. This is a dramatic change from how we have done things in the past. But, you now have to go with it and efficiently exploit it.
· Big analytics makes big data more approachable and useable. Organizations can now do analysis before putting the data into the warehouse.
· There is no sticking your head in the sand; big data might be overhyped, but it’s not going away. Big data analytics actually will bring IT and lines of business closer together to identify best practices.
For more information:
· Register for the TWDI webinar with Colin White and IBM to learn more about the realities of big data analytics and common use cases (Wednesday, Aug. 29 at noon EDT)
· Read more of Colin White’s research in the areas of big data, BI self-service and collaborative BI