The Wall Street Journal recently pegged the “Big Problem with Big Data” as being the lack of skilled professionals to understand it and work with it. Another report worried that Big Data raises security risks for companies because data thieves will target the systems with the most information to gain. And, for some, Big Data is a divisive threat to societies everywhere.
Amidst these downbeat stories on Big Data it was refreshing to come across a nugget of information from a TDWI survey taken last year. Only 30% of those polled thought Big Data remained a problem for their organizations. Fully 70%, however, called Big Data “a big opportunity.”
There are a couple of things TDWI observed that made IT managers upbeat about Big Data. First, they now have access to systems—everything from improved processor speeds to high-performance, Big Data-ready analytics and database systems—that weren’t available just a few years ago. Second, according to TDWI, they know, “Big data analytics reveals [a] change’s root cause, so you can stop it or leverage it.”
Lastly, and I find this most interesting in light of the WSJ’s story on talent shortages, the IT professionals surveyed indicate that they now have experience using Big Data inside their companies. It’s no longer the Big Unknown to them. They’ve gone beyond kicking the tires and running pilot projects. They’re developing best practices in data management and finding success. They’re leveraging Big Data and getting big results.
So, while some will continue to wring their hands and bemoan the changes Big Data bring to business, others are pushing ahead and making Big Data work for them. Once again, it seems there’s nothing like a genuine opportunity to inspire real progress.