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February 20, 2013

Big Data: The Big Deal

Posted by Vishnu Bhat (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:40 AM

While we all see its immense potential value for business, few of us business users have found the means to really harness Big Data. Curiously,  this has only made us more resilient in our quest for answers. Everyone wants those elusive insights, better time-to-insight, with greater accuracy, and in a form that can be readily consumed and acted upon. Because there is no doubt that when we unlock the value inherent in our enterprise's Big Data we also uncover invaluable business advantage. And yet, this realization is of little value unless it also comes with the means to gather, process and act on this Big Data.

Exposed mostly to structured data, neatly ordered into databases, Big Data is an animal we sometimes barely understand. The challenge lies is the fact that unstructured information - a significant component of Big Data - makes up 80% of the average enterprise's data resources. And this comes in a variety of emerging forms. Therefore what must be tackled is growing volume and variety. And what seems like an exciting initiative to undertake today can well turn to frustration tomorrow if this challenge is not addressed. After all, research says it takes 12 days to integrate new sources of data into existing systems. 

That's why, business users need a platform that delivers all the capabilities on the Big Data value chain - from data discovery to insight harvesting to decision execution - on tap and affordably. A platform, which accesses both internal and external data sources, and is equally capable of handling structured and unstructured data in all its forms and formats. This platform must enable users to develop and adopt Big Data applications by providing out of the box, features like: connectivity to relevant internal and external data sources - including social media; automated analytical functions; and ready-to-use algorithms which turn the burden of insight generation into a matter of mere plug and play. And of course, help execute these insights into actions by triggering integrated workflows that point to the best way forward.

And that exactly is when the big deal about Big Data will be clearly apparent.

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