The editors at CIO.com know a thing or two about Big Data Analysis. For one thing, you don’t have to be a big business to have big data – consider the example of a small hedge fund with terabytes of transactional data. Add to that the exploding volume of data generated by telemetry, geolocation, voice, video, news feeds and web clicks, and very soon a CIO may be grappling with the challenge of extracting value from very large data sets that won’t fit neatly into a traditional data warehouse.
Headache or Opportunity?
Is this deluge of data a problem or an opportunity for your organization?
According to a 2012 AIIM survey, 70% of IT professionals recognize that big data means big opportunity.
Exploratory analysis of big data has the potential to uncover new facts about customers, markets, partners, costs, and operations—information that businesses can use to their advantage.
Some companies may even discover that big data can create opportunities to launch new lines of business focused on selling information as well as the analytic services based on the data.
Five Major Trends Impacting Data Analysis
To effectively leverage the potential of big data analysis, there are five major tech trends that every IT leader should be prepared to exploit.
1. The Rise of Big Data
Web crawler data, social media feeds and server logs, as well as data from supply chain, industrial, environmental and surveillance sensors all make corporate data far richer and more complex than in the past.
2. Technologies for Faster Processing
The capacity of today’s computers to process greater volumes of data in memory allows for faster results than retrieving data from magnetic disks —a mechanical process that is orders of magnitude slower than processing in memory.
3. Declining Costs for IT Commodities
Along with increases in computing capacity, analytics are benefitting from falling prices for memory, storage and software.
4. Proliferating Mobile Devices
Like nearly every other application, Business Intelligence is going mobile. The number of people accessing analytics from iPads and other mobile devices is exploding – it’s an accelerating trend that is changing how we interact with our computing resources.
5. Social Media
With the explosion of social media, more companies want to analyze the data generated by sites like Facebook and Twitter. New analytics applications have emerged to support statistical techniques such as natural language processing, sentiment analysis, and social network analysis.
How to Get Started
The CIO Strategic Guide to Big Data Analysis offers solid advice on how to begin harnessing the power of Big Data analytics.
Learn what questions to ask of your business and play those questions off against the data you already have, data you could collect or data you could acquire elsewhere.
Ask blue-sky questions such as:
- If only we knew . . . .
- If we could predict . . . .
- If we could measure . . . .
Consider how useful that might be to the business before thinking about how it can be done or how much it might cost.
Coping with the Shortage Of Big Data Talent
Among the top Big Data challenges faced by today’s CIOs is the current lack of skills to analyze the data.
A significant business analytics education gap has IT executives scouring the country to find people with the data analytics skills they need now: workers with statistical and analytical skills as well as knowledge of economics and the ability to understand causal relationships in the data.
The winners in the contest to woo top talent need to plan for the future. One approach to bridging the current gap is cross-cultivation of business and technology skills: recruit business people and teach them technology while putting technology-oriented people in the field to learn the business.
Today’s CIOs understand that leveraging Big Data analysis for strategic advantage requires analytical talent as well as technology infrastructure.
Image credits: CIO Strategic Guide to Big Data Analysis
Read more from Business Innovation >>