Make no mistake about it, executives are hungry for Big Data and the insights new forms of machine-generated and user-generated data can offer. However, Big Data analytics skills are hard to find, and even when they are available, hard to finance. As a result, the handling of Big Data analysis is defaulting to business users.
That’s one of the conclusions of a recent survey of 241 executives from across the globe, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The survey confirms that data democracy is a positive force – the vast majority of respondents, 77%, favor enabling more of their employees with better access to Big Data and the ability to analyze it in the context of other relevant data. There may be inertia at the top, but a grassroots movement within organizations is forcing the revolution into a reality. (more…)
Focus on the business impacts of analytics, not methodologies or insights…. keep the business involved in all iterations of an analytics process or project…. and remember, it’s ultimately skilled people that drive successful analytics.
These “secrets” of leading corporate analytical gurus may seem like everyday common sense, but rarely are put into practice. To find out what it takes for organizations to succeed with data analytics, Wayne Eckerson, founder of the BI Leadership Forum, recently spoke with seven exemplary analytics leaders, and distilled their advice in his latest book, Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders. (more…)
Thomas Davenport, visiting professor at Harvard University and author of the watershed book Competing on Analytics, is once again making waves across the datasphere with his proclamation of data scientist as the “sexiest job of the 21st century.”
To many readers here at the Perspectives site, of course, this is not news, as many data professionals have increasingly been recognizing – and are being recognized – for the increasing power of information in driving new insights and business opportunities. (more…)
Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, recently observed that most mainstream business executives are having trouble getting their heads around the utility of “Big Data.” As he put it, many executives have troubling making the connection between vast stores of information and business value: “Executives evinced little enthusiasm for 100X more customer data was that they couldn’t envision or align it with a desirable business outcome. Would offering 1000X or 10,000X more data been more persuasive? Hardly. Neither the quantity nor quality of data was the issue. What matters is how — and why — vastly more data leads to vastly greater value creation.”
A new survey from CompTIA – a tech industry association – validates Schrage’s observations. Executives don’t quite know what it is, and they don’t know where to apply it. But they sense it’s something important that they need to press forward with. The survey of 500 businesses finds low levels of familiarity – only 37% of IT and business executives report being very familiar or mostly familiar with the concept of Big Data. Approximately one in five organizations, 19%, claim to have a big data initiative underway, while 36% plan to embark on one in the next 12 months. (more…)
A lot of media reports have been surfacing lately about “secretive” data mining activities taking place within the presidential campaign. Many articles paint the efforts with a sinister caste, implying that underhanded invasions of privacy are taking place.
But to any seasoned data professional, data mining is a discovery tool that pulls nuggets of insight out of mountains of data. For any business that wants to get ahead in today’s hyper-competitive global economy, advanced data mining and analysis is not a luxury, it is a necessity. As USA Today’s Jack Gillum describes the Romney campaign’s data analytics: (more…)
Big data is not easy. For many companies, the sheer volume of big data now surging their their enterprises is overwhelming. And, there doesn’t seem to be enough skilled talent to help manage and analyze all this data. But the good news is that executives feel investments in big data initiatives are paying off.
That’s the word from Avanade, which just released the results of a survey of 569 business executives and IT leaders from across the globe. All in all, big data is seen as a positive force – 84% percent of respondents believe big data helps them make better business decisions. (more…)
There’s a historic parallel for Hadoop’s rapidly growing ecosystem and excitement – the Linux operating system had a similar trajectory more than a decade ago. At that time, as companies embraced the open source system, a vibrant ecosystem of users, vendors and community supporters evolved to move the technology forward and add value.
Now, we see the same thing happening with Big Data, as an impressive ecosystem emerges around Hadoop. “This is a very strong and vibrant and varied community,” Matt Aslett, analyst with the451 Group, pointed out at the recent Hadoop Tuesdays webcast. “It very much reminds us of the early early stages of Linux, where you have vendors and users who each have something to gain from Hadoop being successful.” (more…)
For too long, many enterprises have been attempting to sort through increasingly complex spaghetti architectures with point-to-point data integration. “They get to the point where when they want to introduce a new product or make a change, they have to touch 30 different systems,” says John Akred, data and platforms lead at Accenture Technology Labs. “That has real consequences in the marketplace for enterprises.”
John continued that Hadoop – an open-source software framework that enables applications to run across large arrays of nodes, accessing petabytes’ worth of data – will help organizations manage and scale up to the huge volumes of unstructured and semi-structured data now surging into organizations. I recently had the opportunity to join John, along with Julianna DeLua, Enterprise Solution Evangelist for Big Data from Informatica, for a discussion of Hadoop’s role in the emerging data as a platform paradigm. The session was the second session of the Hadoop Tuesdays Webinar series, sponsored by Informatica and Cloudera. (more…)
In enterprises across the globe, from data centers into the executive suites, everyone is asking the same questions: What is Hadoop, and how can it help us with our Big Data challenges?
The groundswell of interest in Hadoop – an open-source software framework that enables applications to run across large arrays of nodes, accessing petabytes’ worth of data – was discussed by James Kobielus, Forrester’s Big Data and Hadoop expert, at the opening session of the Hadoop Tuesday Webinar series, sponsored by Informatica and Cloudera. (Replay available here.) I had the opportunity to join Jim, along with Julianna DeLua, Enterprise Solution Evangelist for Big Data at Informatica, for a discussion of Hadoop’s growth across the business world.
“Hadoop is in heavy evaluation pretty much everywhere, and that’s only a slight exaggeration,” Jim pointed out. “Hadoop is seen widely now as the next generation of big data processing and storage.”
Hadoop is very much the heart of many of Forrester’s customer inquiries now, “both from users and solution providers,” he added. “They want to take this technology, this new approach, and they want to be able to integrate it more tightly in their operations if they’re users. And into their product portfolios if they’re a solution provider.”
Solution providers are also seeing a great deal of inquiries about Hadoop from enterprise customers – not only from the technical ranks, but from the executive suite as well, Julianna added. “There’s tremendous interest, but also market confusion,” she said. “Our customers have invested a tremendous amount of money, and resources into the existing IT infrastructure. The question is, what does Hadoop do – is this a replacement technology, or is this augmenting our technology?” The answer is that Hadoop is paving the way to analytical capabilities previously not available, she continued. “Tasks that used to take weeks come down to days. With an ability to store and analyze huge amounts of data, the era of sampling is coming to the end. For certain applications such as log analysis, even for network and application-level logs, we’re going from a very limited, average-oriented approach into an all-data type of approach.”
Areas where Hadoop is already providing value include CRM, content management, and sentiment analysis. It is gaining traction among “those that are the C-level sponsors who need to be able to analyze petabytes worth of information streaming in all the time,” Jim said. Log analysis is a particularly strong area as well – perhaps one of the “early killer apps for Hadoop,” he added. “CTOs are looking for the ability to process petabytes worth of log data, in real time. They need to do root cause analysis of problems across complex networks.”
Forrester’s latest survey research shows about 37% of companies have Hadoop projects underway within their enterprises. There are new types of applications unfolding every day. “We’re also seeing Hadoop in a broad range of other areas, such as doing content ETL and digital media,” Jim said. “Online publishers need to be able to render content, transform it in real time and deliver downstream to a broad range of consumers. The range of Hadoop applications continues to grow, and the range of business solutions built on Hadoop continues to grow.”
In the second Hadoop Tuesday Webcast (October 11th), John Akred of Accenture will be delving into the architectural aspects of Hadoop, as well as its role in enabling Data as a Platform.
Future guests for Hadoop Tuesdays include Matt Aslett of The 451Group (October 18), David Menninger of Ventana Research (October 25), Omer Trajman of Cloudera (November 15), David Linthicum of Blue Mountain Labs (November 29), Charles Zedlewski of Cloudera and Wei Zheng of Informatica (December 13). Executives from companies that have already implemented Hadoop within their data operations will also be joining us.
This fall, I have the fantastic privilege of moderating a series of informative Webcasts, called “Hadoop Tuesdays,” co-sponsored by Informatica and Cloudera, on the phenomenon sweeping the data management space known as Hadoop.
Big Data may be the problem, but Hadoop is the answer. Hadoop is an open-source software framework that enables applications to run across large arrays of nodes, accessing petabytes’ worth of data. It was originally created by Doug Cutting to support the open-source Nutch search engine project, which is now part of the Apache Lucene text-search library. ‘Hadoop’ was actually named after Cutting’s son’s toy elephant – a fitting analogy for the Big Data challenges that lie ahead.
The series kicks off on September 22nd with a “TweetJam” over the Twitter network – simply check in at Noon Eastern Time that day with hashtags #Hadoop or #infatj. (more…)