Exploring Big Data

A new white paper, written by a trio of industry experts with many decades of experience between them, gets to the heart of the challenges enterprises are encountering as they work to successfully implement big data initiatives. The 43-page document explains how big data can be a turning point for many, a savior, to some, from the dogmatic prescriptions frequently used to address challenges. However, it can also lead many to economic and career-ending failures, hence a false prophet.

“No two operations are alike and big data is currently not an off-the-shelf solution,” states co-author Cary Burch, Corporate SVP Innovation with Thomson Reuters. “Big data is a growing discipline used to integrate and analyze very large, multifaceted data sources. The integration of intelligent information within a big data solution requires advanced planning, robust data sources, and a clear linkage to discrete performance measures to ensure continued funding.”

Mark P. Dangelo, President, MPD Organizations and co-author adds, “Once the playground of mathematicians and computer scientists, big data is growing beyond its infancy and into a global industry. However, it is being sold as an elixir for pervasive enterprise problems. It will be a common practice when the reality of big data and its data abstractions move beyond faith or R&D and into mainstream, repeatable solutions when routinely measured against corporate success criteria. After all, innovation is not just a trend or a fad—if properly framed, big data represents the next curve of business innovation.”

“Big data has become so sexy and cool that everyone wants to sound like a strong proponent,” writes preface author Ron Ashkenas, Senior Partner, Schaffer Consulting. “If a CEO asks his technology team whether or not they are ‘doing big data’ the politically correct answer is ‘of course we are.’ Yet, big data is still in its infancy. Before any fad becomes a fundamental it needs to demonstrate value, not just once, but over and over. Big data has the potential to make a huge impact. But as the authors of this paper argue, let’s be cautious about declaring victory prematurely.”

The authors describe in detail how initial big data successes are ignoring critical organizational, personnel, and process requirements needed for repeatability—the hype and expectations are grandiose fed by media reports and vendor claims. Moreover, big data is an emerging business innovation, which must be iteratively incorporated into enterprise capabilities, while navigating complex, multi-faceted data volumes, velocities, varieties, and veracities. For a copy of the paper, visit http://www.mpdl2c.com/big-data-series.html.

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