Big data: moving from hype to reality
Business intelligence (BI) & big data is big business. That’s the consensus of the main IT industry observers. Gartner has called BI & analytics 2013’s “number one top priority for CIOs”. Within the BI area, IDC predicts the ‘big data’ market will grow seven times faster than the overall IT industry over the next two years.
The reason for this growth is simple: the world is moving to an information economy, and companies are gathering more and more information – through their new social media, mobile and cloud-based data sources, as well as all their traditional databases.
That information is useless unless you can share it, understand it, and act on it. That’s the job of BI & analytics software – which is why it’s the most important technology around right now.
‘Big data’ too is a simple idea: it’s the name given to the fact that organisations are gathering growing swathes of customer and corporate information; the problem is, they are collecting more data than they know what to do with.
So big data encapsulates both an opportunity – to take a lead in the information economy; and a problem – to avoid becoming overwhelmed by all the information available.
Our special report this issue focuses on the BI and big data market. We look at the uptake of big data (pages 6-7); the overall business opportunity and threat it presents (pages 8-9); how to turn the promise of big data into a practical business case (10-11); the critical area of mobile BI (12-13); how big data can improve your IT security (20-21); overcoming the obstacles to big data – why the tools and technology are not enough (22-23); and how big data projects need rigorous metrics like balanced scorecards and analytics (24-25).
The key take-away is that, while BI & analytics is established as probably the most important current software area, big data remains mainly at the ‘hype’ stage. Gartner estimates that less than 3% of BI software spending in 2012 was driven by big data. IDC says around 30% of organisations in Europe are planning or starting a big data project – but finished and proven projects? Not so much.
Now might be a good time to get up to speed with a technology whose sun is about to shine.
The National Computing Centre Ltd
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Surveys show British companies are slow to adopt big data. Rob McManus opens our big data special report with a checklist of actions to help the laggards among us get started. In 40-odd years of life, I've learnt that certain things never change. As soon as I hang out some washing, ... read more..
Kevin Long of Teradata takes a look at the opportunities and challenges you might meet when embarking on new big data projects. Globally the big data market is expected to reach £14.9 billion by 2016, with a growth rate potentially seven times higher than the overall IT market, according to IDC. ... read more..
Ian McVey from Interxion explains how organisations can bridge the gap between IT and the business that prevents them exploring big data solutions. A Google search for the term 'big data' yields nearly 2.4 billion results (big data on big data, you could say), underlining once more the extent to which ... read more..
Ovum's Fredrik Tunvall assesses what extra advantages and problems mobile BI offers. Mobile business intelligence (BI) is becoming increasingly prevalent in the market. Vendors are sharpening their focus on mobility, while enterprises are trying to work out how to make the most of their increasingly mobile workforce. However, mobile BI ... read more..
What can you do about shadow IT where people ignore the IT department and choose their own software and services? Simon Bain of Simplexo has the answer. Are you that person? You know, the person who sends a 10Mb file that cripples your own, and your colleagues', email for the ... read more..
Enterprise app stores are key to delivering mobile and BYOD. But they have to be iTunes-like accessible. John Juris of Flexera shows how. Today, there is an 'app' for all manner of things the consumer is spoilt for choice. According to analyst firm Canalys, the Apple and Google Play app ... read more..
NCC launches new consultancy offering The recession has changed the expectations organisations have about their IT investments. IT decision makers are asking themselves: how do I get greater value from IT? How do I exploit new technology without incurring undue risk? How do I get more for less? And how do ... read more..
Mark Seward of Splunk explains how big data can help you fight off the growing number of cyber attacks. When we talk about data security, there's an increasingly popular adage that there are two types of organisations: those that have been breached and those that don't know they've been breached. The ... read more..
Big data technologies can solve problems in virtually every business. But having the tools isn't enough. Reply's Guido Guerrieri and John Sidhu show the kinds of organisational changes you need to introduce as well. Everyone is talking about big data and debating what to do with all the information generated by ... read more..
Jeff Morris of Actuate explains why your big data project needs rigorous metrics like balanced scorecards and analytics to make it relevant and useful. It's the 20th anniversary of the famous balanced scorecard, that popular and familiar business analysis technique. To mark the occasion, Actuate, in conjunction with advisory group the ... read more..
Seeing the parallels with IT security development can help you build your big data project, says Tier-3's Piers Wilson. There are several trends in IT and security: cloud, mobile, the 'Internet of Things'. Big data and analytics is probably amongst the most interesting partly because it is interdependent with some ... read more..
The challenge of delivering major transformation at the desktop can be daunting, but Centralis' Ewen Anderson says a strategy-first, technology-second approach is the way to go. Using cloud and virtualisation technologies and delivering Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is seen as a great opportunity for any organisation looking to increase the ... read more..
NComputing's Mark Pilgrim says virtualisation can solve your organisation's mobile computing problems. But which virtual option is best for you? The IT industry has undergone rapid changes in the past few years alone, so organisations' IT departments must ensure they're on the ball, ready to deal with fast-growing and emerging trends. Bring ... read more..
Today's networks are much more complex, presenting operators with the challenging task of how to test them. Marc Meulensteen of Spirent solves the problem. In the early days of networking you could just chuck a load of data into the pipe to make sure it could handle it. But once new ... read more..
US correspondent Gary Cornell sees a queue forming to become a big data scientist. Judging by the amount of press it gets, 'big data' is a big deal. It's hard to open up even a general newspaper without seeing regular articles on it. For example, here in the US recently there was ... read more..