Big Data and Analytics Becomes Smarter and More Connected

The movement toward the instrumentation of everything and the democratization of data and analytics is resulting in more data flowing to more users, and is creating new challenges in data management.

There will be 8.4 billion connected things in use worldwide in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and reaching 20.4 billion by 2020, according to Gartner. Interest is also growing strongly in artificial intelligence (AI). According to CB Insights, more than 250 private companies using AI algorithms have been acquired since 2012, with 37 of those transactions closing in Q1 2017 alone, including Ford’s acquisition of Argo AI for $1 billion.

In the fall issue of Big Data Quarterly, key trends of IoT and AI, as well as the supporting role of cloud, are explored from a variety of angles. Cloud with its elastic scalability is fueling many big data advancements, and its use is soaring.

In his article on big data and analytics, for example, John O’Brien, CEO and principal advisor of Radiant Advisors, points out that a common theme today is “Industry 4.0,” enabled by the twin drivers of broad data access and the spread of automation everywhere. Organizations are demanding faster development and agility to leverage big data at scale and are increasingly utilizing automation and AI. Central to the IT trends of 2017 are public cloud platforms, he notes, which are abstracting infrastructure and architecting ecosystems of managed services and data pipelines.

However, with greater access to data and the expansion of cloud use in the enterprise, more stringent oversight is required to address new regulatory and ethical concerns.

In this month’s Cloud Currents column, BDQ contributors Michael Corey and Don Sullivan explore what the upcoming implementation of the EU’s GDPR will mean for companies and their respective cloud vendors in terms of handling EU residents’ data. “GDPR will apply to both the company that holds the actual personal data and the company that processes an EU resident’s data,” making it impossible for a company to simply transfer the job of data protection to a third-party vendor, they note. However, adherence to legal requirements will not be sufficient to protect a business when it comes to ethical data use, observes columnist Anne Buff in her Governing Guidelines article. “Why? Ethical concerns precede legal compliance requirements.”

As technologies evolve, so do people’s responsibilities. The changing role of the DBA in the new cloud era is considered in an interview with Penny Avril, vice president of product management, Oracle Database. “One way we look at this change is to think about the title without the ‘B’ in DBA—moving them to a ‘DA’ (data administrator or a data architect). A data administrator isn’t just keeping data in a database, but understands the importance of that data to key business stakeholders and in driving the business forward,” says Avril.

To further help data-driven organizations evaluate the growing range of big data technologies available, in this issue of Big Data Quarterly, we also present the third annual “Big Data 50,” a list of companies driving innovation. Each company on this list is helping to improve the use of data with forward-facing products and services.

This issue is packed with many more articles that provide insight and perspective on the rapid changes coming to the world of big data. To stay on top of the latest big data trends, research, and news, visit

And, don’t forget to mark your calendar for Data Summit 2018. Next year, the conference will be held for the first time at the Hyatt Regency Boston. The event will take place May 22–23, with preconference workshops May 21.


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