How to Get Started with Big Data

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Data is really important. How important is it? Working, manipulating, and analyzing data is now pushing forward several technologies, including AI, robotics process automation, neural networks, advanced automation and orchestration, and much more. Big data is allowing business to make better decisions impacting both the user and the overall market.

So, just how much data are we creating? The latest Cisco Cloud Index report indicates the following:

  • Big data will reach 247 EB by 2020, up almost 10-fold from 25 EB in 2015. Big data alone will represent 27 percent of data stored in data centers by 2020, up from 15 percent in 2015.
  • The amount of data stored on devices will be 5 times higher than data stored in data centers, at 5.3 ZB by 2020.
  • Driven by the Internet of Things, the total amount of data created (and not necessarily stored) by any device will reach 600 ZB per year by 2020, up from 145 ZB per year in 2015. Data created is two orders of magnitude higher than data stored.

Furthermore, Gartner recently pointed out that data and analytics will drive modern business operations, and not simply reflect their performance. Furthermore, executives will make data and analytics part of the business strategy, which will allow data and analytics professionals to assume new roles and create business growth. Shifting the way organization uses data and analytics more toward driving business operations requires a new approach to data architectures, which many organizations are already building. Last year, Gartner research found that 45 percent of IT professionals had indicated that new data and analytics projects were in the “design” and “select” phases.

Related: How to Prepare your Infrastructure for the World of Big Data

Finally, a new update to IDC’s Big Data and Analytics Guide now forecasts worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics (BDA) will reach $150.8 billion in 2017, an increase of 12.4 percent over 2016. Commercial purchases of BDA-related hardware, software, and services are expected to maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9 percent through 2020 when revenues will be more than $210 billion.

“After years of traversing the adoption S-curve, big data and business analytics solutions have finally hit mainstream,” said Dan Vesset, group vice president, Analytics and Information Management. “BDA as an enabler of decision support and decision automation is now firmly on the radar of top executives. This category of solutions is also one of the key pillars of enabling digital transformation efforts across industries and business processes globally.”

How Do You Wrangle Big Data?

It’s important to note that even if you don’t have any big data initiatives or operations running right now your company is still generating data. However, it’s up to you and a good big data partner to help you understand the value of that data, your data repositories, and how you interact with that data. To get you on your way, consider the following:

  • Your business is always generating data; how much visibility do you have… or need? Regardless of your vertical or business size, your data is valuable. Its generated when you create an email or when you enter a figure into a spreadsheet. It’s recorded when you have customer service calls and it’s created when you have infrastructure logs. But is it correlated? Do you need it to be? Are there sales figures you need to better understand? New big data engines help you dive deeper into both structured and unstructured data sources. You can better understand how your data interacts with your business (and your market), and how to make better business decisions.
  • Big data initiatives are happening across many verticals and with business of all sizes. Big data solutions are no longer a challenge. In fact, the cloud has become a major engine for big data solutions. Organizations can leverage providers like AWS or Azure for their big data needs. And, the processing engine is already built. Another great point is that you don’t have to do this alone. Big data has grown enough that there is a great partner community – oftentimes vertical-specific – who can help you better understand your own data requirements.
  • Start by asking questions around your business and how you interact with key data points. Maybe you’re stuck in a sales cycle. Or, maybe you just can’t improve a product or service. By leveraging big data analytics, you can better understand inefficiencies within the business or service organization. That being said, if you’re a very small organization, it’s possible that you just don’t have enough data to work with. In those cases, analyzing both your sources of data as well as your overall business process is critical. However, for larger and mid-size company, there is oftentimes enough data points to work with. Start by understanding where you need to adjust or fix your business, and start leveraging big data to make changes. Remember, this isn’t just to improve your business, its’ to help you create real-world competitive advantages.

There’s no stopping the digital revolution. As more organizations deploy solutions around things like IoT, mobile technologies, and cloud more data will be generated.

“We are at an inflection point as digital transformation efforts shift from ‘project’ or ‘initiative’ status to strategic business imperative,” said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC. “Every (growing) enterprise, regardless of age or industry, must become ‘digital native’ in the way its executives and employees think, what they produce, and how they operate. At the same time, digital transformation is happening much faster than most expected and early competitive advantages will go to those enterprises that can keep pace with the emerging digital transformation economy.”

Working with big data and understanding the value of the information it can bring can not only create those competitive advantages, but also revolutionize business process and user interaction. Start by asking the right questions around your own data, and start caring about the big data you’re already creating.

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One Comment

  1. Chann Vuppalmarthi

    Nice Article!!True. And with the barriers to entry dramatically almost defunct with AWS EMR, where you can just have clusters (pre-installed and configured) at a click of a mouse on on demand instances (@pennys cost), applications of Big Data is only going to go up.

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