Courtesy of Computer World
The steps you need
to go through to put your sea of data to business use
DG News Service
- The rapid expansion of business data poses challenges
for companies across Europe, especially in the UK, per Aberdeen
Group's research report Business Analytics in the UK:
Transforming Data into Business Insight.
However, these headaches pale in comparison to the potential
business value that new, complex, and varied data sets can deliver
to the enterprise. Creating this value involves three essential
- Identifying the data sources that can contribute to an
organisation's data repository
- Building a strong, scalable data management foundation
- Layering new analytic tools on top of the data to provide new
Aberdeen's January 2012 research study on
Data Management for BIincluded 99 organisations with at least
five terabytes of current, active business data, and, that had
implemented an official, enterprise-wide Big Data initiative.
The strategies and tools being used paint a picture of the
current data management requirements and emerging solutions in the
Interestingly, the most popular data source used in Big Data
initiatives has the smallest data footprint.
Structured data in relational databases, such as transactional
information, while growing at over 36 per cent year-over-year,
shows nowhere near the growth of other, internet-based data
However, 93 per cent of organisations reported that structured
data is important or very important to their overall Big Data
initiative (see Figure 1).
This information forms the core of their projects, with other
data sources used to supplement or add perspective to this reliable
repository of sales, customer or product information.
Other popular data sources include the collection of
internet-use and social media behavior statistics, which provide
insights to consumer behaviour and the success of products or
Also, as wireless bandwidth speeds now fully support streaming
video and audio, consumers now access more information in more
formats than ever before.
This realm of rich media offers numerous opportunities to
dynamically interact with a customer base, and for analyzing which
media formats and topics engage the public.
Aberdeen's research also reveals that, when building the support
structure for new data sources, the majority of these organisations
shared some basic capabilities as part of their IT
As mentioned in
Big Data, Big Moves (August 2011) data compression and
data deduplication solutions are often used to eliminate redundant
files and reduce required storage space.
Organisations also reported that end-users and decision makers
demand the ability to
control the data analysis process through self-service
tools, removing the burden of delivering reports from the IT
department, and allowing for employees to quickly and easily obtain
answers from the data precisely when they need it.
Much of the excitement surrounding Big Data, focuses on the new
technologies, currently available or being developed, to
specifically manage and analyze massive, varied data sets.
To determine which of these powerful new tools provides the most
value, the CIO must help the enterprise identify current needs and
articulate a long-term vision for the next evolution of their
products or services.
Solutions now exist to process massive amounts of data in
real-time, to search and analyze any type of unstructured or
semi-structured data, and deliver this information to anyone,
Aberdeen's research shows that there are several major
technological categories with incredible growth potential that CIOs
should monitor, and determine if they can enhance their business
(see Figure 2).
Organisations needing to accelerate their data-centric tasks, or
quickly deliver intelligence, are reporting significant interest in
the processing speed provided by in-memory technology, which
Aberdeen's research has shown to be over 100-times faster than
Real-time integration is a complementary technology, allowing
data sets to be updated with current information faster than
traditional batch integration.
Getting this information into the hands of the right people is
the last step in the process, and in this age of the smartphone,
companies can now supply their remote or traveling workforce with
BI capabilities through mobile apps and technology.
The future of Big Data is wide open and the possibilities are
New insights gleaned from data never before combined, and
delivered faster to more users than ever before, represents only
the tip of the iceberg.
The role of the CIO in this new information revolution has never
been more important, as it is their responsibility to manage the
complex task of determining how Big Data can benefit their company,
identifying untapped data sources, and selecting the technologies
that are the best fit for the needs and goals of the
Nathaniel Rowe is research analyst, enterprise data management
for Aberdeen Group