Big Data – How does it impact an Organization?

Business Intelligence

“Data will grow to several petabytes and zeta bytes in the next few years;” “Corporations will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data;” “By 2015 databases will grow so large that companies will have to rent space on the moon to store them.” These are just a few common quotes we hear from renowned industry analysts, experts and CIOs surrounding the topic of Big Data.

But for many observers, there’s still a lot of gray area surrounding when to apply Big Data solutions.  How is Big Data different from traditional analysis tools?  How does it impact an organization? Just because there are several terabytes of data, does that make it Big Data? Does it really matter?

We can make a generic bold statement here: Data is everywhere! When you pause to think, you’ll see it’s true. The cars we drive, stores we shop at, the phone we use, the websites we read, the social media we so closely embrace, the TV programs we watch, the election polls that we follow – everything generates data and it is all stored somewhere.

When it comes to Big Data, people commonly mention the 4 Vs, but this only scratches the surface.  Traditionally, any large organization that implements ERP services has all these Vs associated with their everyday line of business.  Admittedly, this is primarily “structured” data, and it can be handled by a traditional RDBMS or an MPP database.  But in light of the other Vs, it technically has volume because everything is recorded in an ERP system; the incorrect and the correct entries alike form the millions and billions of rows.  It undoubtedly has value; otherwise corporations would not bother to collect it. It clearly is volatile because data does not come at regular intervals. It also has variety; data comes in from multiple sources, such as CRM systems, HR systems and modules that are implemented within the organization.

Even if you add unstructured data, can you really derive strategic value for your business? What is this unstructured data comprised of? What kind of metrics can we extract from this unstructured data?

More often than not, Big Data buzz induces a cool factor akin to what was once associated with owning an iPhone/iPad or, back in the day, having a free Facebook account. Sometimes a personal agenda is associated with Big Data implementations. Several managers and CIOs have vested interests in showing off a ‘cutting edge’ Big Data implementation.  We recommend organizations take a breather to make sure that the data problem they have qualifies as a Big Data problem.

…Stay tuned for a model CIOs can use to evaluate whether Big Data is the solution to their challenge…

Ajay Narayan is a presales solution architect for Bodhtree, a leader in data analytics and product engineering.  Bodhtree partners with SAP and Informatica to assist companies in leveraging enterprise data to gain a competitive edge in the market.  Bodhtree also offers the MIDAS product suite, which migrates, cleanses and integrates data between SalesForce, SAP and legacy platforms.

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Navigating the Big Data Tsumani

Business Intelligence

Having just returned from a Big Data conference about the state of our technology ecosystem with respect to the explosion of data, a thought came to mind that history repeats itself. You may wonder, since we’ve never faced data challenges of this magnitude or complexity, what insights can history offer?

When faced with previous tech tsunamis like www in the late 1990s or smartphones in the mid-2000s, many customers and vendors joined the bandwagon trying to establish themselves as key players in the space. With a lot of money spent, only a few emerged as true game changers while most remained spectators in the technology revolutions.

As a vendor if you recognize this time period as a tsunami of Big Data-enabled capabilities being unleashed on the market, it is important to decide early on what your role will be. Do you want to simply ride the wave and hope for a spot on a lucrative customer budget, or will you identify the core value that you and your products bring to the market and invest in it over the next 12-24 months?

The value that you bring could be in any form, e.g. build an army of Data Scientists for the market or provide a product to solve a Big Data problem. In this tsunami of capabilities there are certain areas where demand will constantly remain high, such as Data Cleansing. Whether data is structured or unstructured, the need for quality input to any Big Data solution is critical to generate valuable output. My recommendation to the vendors playing in the Big Data revolution is to quickly define your role, build your space and stick to it. Avoid saying “We are a Big Data vendor” – it will only sound superficial and lacking in real value. Be more specific about how you and your company will make your mark in this Big Data tsunami of capabilities.

Manju Devadas is VP of Solutions and Technology for Bodhtree, a leader in data analytics and product engineering.  Bodhtree partners with SAP and Informatica to assist companies in leveraging enterprise data to gain a competitive edge in the market.  Bodhtree also offers the MIDAS product suite, which migrates, cleanses and integrates data between SalesForce, SAP and legacy platforms.

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IT Roadmap – Is IT Efficiency Getting Ahead of an Integrated Vision?

By: Chris Tabish

Business Intelligence

I was the program leader of a CIO visioning effort at a Fortune 500 technology company where the target was to demonstrate the use of its own products for internal operations, aka ‘drink your own wine’.

The project seemed to have everything needed to successfully showcase their exceptional networking and software products.  The company was committed to carrying out the vision, and it dedicated the right leaders for the job—credible and very influential.

But the leaders also had a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver ‘drink your own wine’ quick hits, or short-term, tactical achievements.  This quick hit delivery tempo was part of the company’s culture.  The common belief was these quick hits would keep the overall vision program visible and credible.

One of the first quick hits was an internal ‘Service Operations Center’.  This center would provide technical support to the rest of the company which would soon be using its own products per the vision.  The initial plan was for the operations center to be deployed offshore.  This way, the company could provide 24×7 coverage while saving 40% in labor.  Smart, right?

Then, along came a vision…

Shortly after the quick hit project was launched, the company finalized the ‘drink your own wine’ vision.  Part of this vision articulated a state-of-the art operations center with big-screen TV’s  to display global maps monitoring the company’s products, capabilities and throughput.  This operations center, in fact, would pin-point potential issues before any employee had an indication of the problem, all made possible by the company’s own products.

Best of all, visiting customers would see this slick, professional operation when they went into the onshore facility and—uhhh, wait a minute—-did you just hear a record scratch?  (For those of you born after 1990, that’s a bad thing).  If the company was going to have a state-of-the-art, onshore operation, then what was it doing building itoffshore?

This was a quick hit launched by smart people with great intentions.  However, it still went awry.  In fact, the quick hit had a spend upwards of $1 million by the time it was realized that it wasn’t in alignment with the vision.  What went wrong?  In short, it was not aligned with the vision.  An integrated vision gives CIOs a broad perspective of the playing field so they can factor in all applicable considerations, in this case ‘marketing potential’ in addition to just ‘cost savings’.  This is why having an integrated vision before  launching costly implementations is so critical.

Chris Tabish is Executive Vice President for Bodhtree, which guides SMB and Fortune 500 companies in maximizing the long-term value of their IT investments.  Bodhtree specializes in Product Engineering, Analytics, Cloud Services, and Enterprise Services, providing a cost-effective strategy to align IT with the enterprise’s core vision.

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