By Tobias Manolo
Talend sponsored a survey recently that revealed 24% of their respondents were not interested in their organisation’s big data; a big drop on last year’s figure of 61%! So, it seems that many businesses are starting to wake up to the big data phenomenon. But the rise in those companies that have actually sat down and discussed how they are going to approach analysing and using this data hasn’t seen the same growth at just 36%, from 24% last year.
The drive in interest in big data is the increase in volume, which many companies – 1 in 5 – want to use to increase revenue. Add to the fact that many enterprises are now faced with the rise in compliance, competition, and the development of new products and services, they need to use this data to make informative business decisions.
With just 1 in 10 respondents rolling-out a large scale big data project, something is obviously holding businesses back. The first two restrictions – a shortage of skills and limited budgets – aren’t surprising, particularly for SMEs. There is a perception that initiating a big data project requires big budgets, and because the skills required in integrating large data sets that are often unbending, and then there’s the effective analysis of the data streams, staff often don’t have the necessary training or ability.
The biggest losers appear to be the SMEs who often don’t have the IT structure, the budgets and resources. But they have other benefits: their IT infrastructure is more flexible, their systems have fewer legacy issues, and they have the ability to adjust and change their business practices quickly and efficiently.
However, as more and more open source solutions become available, for example the Hadoop platform that allows the integration and analysis of big data using commodity server clusters that help to reduce costs, it isn’t such a daunting prospect after all. A range of graphical tools are available that Java programmers can use, rather than rely on a data scientists, and because many of the open source tools can be downloaded and tested on a trial-before-you-buy basis, most companies should be able to take advantage of their big data.
There are also a range of online and cloud-based options available to help SMEs and larger companies analyse their data – Kaggle, Tableau, Swipely and the one everyone knows, Google Analytics – which can give organisations a valuable insight into the way their business is performing, and highlight areas in which they can do better and open up new and interesting ways to promote their businesses to increase revenue.
Developing a big data strategy needn’t be the ‘millstone around your neck’ you may be expecting because the technology is out there to help you make cost effective, skilled and advantageous.