Big data continues to represent the “elephant in the room” that many IT managers are not quite sure how to deal with. Here’s a look back at 12 noteworthy blogs from 2013 that moved the big data conversation forward and shed light on the issues people are grappling with.
- Why Hadoop projects fail — and how to make yours a success Yes, big data is overhyped but don’t let fear keep you from realizing the benefits that are possible, advises Guy Harrison in a blog that looks at how companies should approach big data analytics to avoid disillusionment. “Most enterprises are at least experimenting with Hadoop, and the potential for transformative business improvement is real. But just as real is the chance of what I call a ‘Hadoop hangover’ if the project fails to meet expectations and instead results in costly failure,” writes Harrison.
- Large company executives fear big data more than cyber-attacks, survey says According to a Jerry Seinfeld joke, more people fear public speaking than death itself – meaning that at a funeral most people would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy. Who knew that the same was true about big data? According to this blog by Joe McKendrick, big company execs fear big data – which should be seen as an opportunity for business development and growth – more than cyber-attacks – which can deliver a deadly blow to businesses and careers.
- 12 Things You Must Never Do In Big Data No matter what your impetus, before jumping into the big data flood zone there are 12 things that you should know never, ever do, writes Al Naqvi in his blog. Topping the list at number-1, he says, is: Never jump into big data without a corresponding business strategy.
- CFOs Take Back Seat in Big Data Drive According to an IBM Institute for Business Value 2013 Big Data & Analytics Study, nearly 60% of the more than 900 executives surveyed say that that big data technology still lacks the kind of top-management advocacy needed to realize its full potential, but a skills gap and a lack of inter-departmental trust is also a stumbling block, writes James Willhite. According to Willhite, the survey found that 15% of respondents said the chief information officer was the biggest supporter of big data efforts, followed by the chief executive, at 14%. However, the CFO was cited as the main advocate by just 8%.
- Are You Taking Big Data Out of Context? In his recent blog, David Corrigan writes about the critical need for context in relation to big data: "In the race to exploit big data for competitive advantage, companies may be making out-of-context decisions: sub-optimal or even incorrect decisions. Big data is complex – there are many data types and formats to utilize in combination to get the best insights. Often the complexity means you may factor in only some of the data you need. You’ll get an answer, but did you have the full context to really make the best decision?"
- Before big data, clean data Big data technologies are hot. The process of gathering, cleansing and normalizing data is not. But whether you start out with clean data or corrupt or inaccurate data can make the difference between rapid success and a long drawn-out struggle, writes Patrick Gray. "Start with the problems you expect big data to solve, the benefits of gaining the rapid responses and refinements characteristic of big data, and then compare the costs of repeatedly performing cleaning versus biting the bullet and doing it right the first time," he advises.
- Big Data of Tomorrow - Internet of Everything "Big data of today is primarily about mining business data in combination with social internet data in order to increase our ability to market and sell products," writes Hu Yoshida. “Big data of tomorrow will have a deeper impact on society as a whole as we discover the information generated by machine driven data. It will impact every aspect of society; healthcare, energy, transportation, safety, and our ability to provide sustenance for an exploding population."
- The Odd Couple: IT & LOB Challenged by Big Data In a twist on the classic odd couple, Felix Unger could represent the IT guy who is motivated by structure and order, and Oscar Madison could be the LOB manager who is disorganized but business-driven, writes Peter Auditore. The alignment of IT and LOB has been a challenge facing organizations for many years, especially in large enterprises where legacy systems inhibit the modernization of core administrative and operational systems, and IT and business tend to point fingers at one another, Auditore observes. "You might think that in today’s economy business success will be dependent on IT and LOB working closely together to achieve organizational goals and initiatives such as customer service. However, the rapid evolution of cloud-based technologies and big data has enabled many organizations, large and small to deploy IT, without IT, to optimize specific business processes such as HR or sales force automation and now ... big data analytics."
- Demystifying Big Data for Oracle Professionals In this blog, self-proclaimed Oracle Database junkie Arup Nanda ponders how the NSA is managing to integrate and distill meaning from massive amounts of disparate and what technologies it is using, then continues into a primer on big data, its history, characteristics, and the tools being employed to reveal its value. "If the buzzing of the buzz-words surrounding any new technology annoys you and all you get are tons of websites on the topic but not a small consolidated compilation of terms, you are just like me," writes Nanda.
- Data Science vs. Big Data Gary Angel explores the meaning and relevance of the term "data scientist" and considers which skills and attributes are most important.
- Can Your C-Suite Handle Big Data? Will a chief data officer be the next C-level executive in the boardroom, asks this blog, which recounts the emergence of various C-level executive titles – such as the chief financial officer (CFO) in the mid-1980s as scandals erupted and calls for more transparent investor relations mounted. "It’s becoming apparent that it will take extra executive horsepower to navigate new organizational hazards, make tough trade-offs, and muster authority when decision rights conflict in the new environment," note Brad Brown, David Court and Paul Willmott in their new blog.
- A novel idea: practical advice from a big data practitioner EMC’s Mona Patel interviewed William Schmarzo about his book, Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business, which includes exercises to help readers create a big data action plan tailored for their own businesses. A noteworthy takeaway, Schmarzo tells Patel: "You can get a big data project started by focusing on a key business process that is already supported by your existing business intelligence and data warehouse environment. Leverage big data to take that business process to the next level."
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