Managing the Changing IT Landscape: Big Data
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A recent article in Forbes* magazine quotes a CIO at a New York City
event saying he’s sick of the big data conversation. And a New York Times* article has declared big data a “big dud.”
In 2011, when a McKinsey Global Institute report declared data as important as labor and capital, businesses sat up and took notice. Big data quickly achieved celebrity status in the press and at events.
I don’t think big data is sliding into the “trough of disillusionment” phase of Gartner’s Hype Cycle. Just look at the recent industry press. A good portion of it reflects a big data backlash from skeptics denouncing its economic value. Emerging technologies always undergo skepticism, but it’s some of these very technologies that are now crucial to our daily lives. As the Forbes article reminds us, “electricity was the demon technology of the late 1800s.”
Big data backlash?
In a previous blog, I described key insights from an A.T. Kearney study forecasting the future of IT through 2020. Not surprisingly, one significant finding points to data analytics as a top priority. It’s a clear indication that enterprise IT organizations will continue to focus on big data analytics as a core responsibility, and one that they can use to create business value from the role of strategic technology partner.
The interesting thing to me is that we have an endless need for information to help us make better decisions, as consumers and as business people. We turn to technology to help us do that. And for this reason, the concept of big data is here to stay. Big data technology continues to mature, and the marketplace offers a growing number of enterprise-ready platforms and solutions to move the industry through disillusionment to the stability of business productivity.
The signs that this is already under way can be found in the results of some 2013 studies that, among other things, look at where organizations are in the big data planning cycle. For example, a Gartner* report found that the percentage of companies that have invested in or plan to invest in big data has risen from 58 percent in 2012 to 64 percent in 2013. Looking into the near future, Gartner sees even greater investment this year in big data–related markets.
Business leaders and IT agree on big data
Intel’s 2013 big data survey of 200 IT managers found that big data initiatives are one of the top three priorities in 44 percent of companies, and three out of four respondents are already processing both structured and unstructured data. Rather than being disillusioned, these IT managers seem quite realistic, with 50 percent recognizing the importance of upgrading data center infrastructure as a key component of the overall strategy.
One of the results I find particularly interesting in the Intel survey is that IT managers judge that most of their stakeholders requesting advanced analytics had a strong understanding of big data—and that IT knows what it takes to support these requests. This understanding of big data and how to use it had grown from Intel’s benchmark survey in 2012.
And how is the survey group using big data? Today top uses are for evaluating staffing levels and productivity and generating competitive intelligence. By 2016, this group plans to use big data to improve operational efficiencies and generate new revenue sources.
Big data staying power
From my perspective, big data is here to stay. While some organizations may be tired of talking about big data, these companies ignore it at their peril. Data-driven insights and decision making have an increasingly important place in the enterprise, and exploring the relevance of big data for your organization offers the potential for solving real business problems and developing competitive advantage.
Don’t be discouraged by the skeptics. Find out how to make a difference using big data in your own organization. Whether you’re just getting starting or
currently leveraging big data, you’ll find everything you need at the Intel IT Center.
Where is your organization on big data? Comment below, or better yet, connect with big data experts in our data center community.
Chris Peters is a business strategist with more than 21 years of experience ranging from Information Technology, manufacturing, supply chain, nuclear power and consumer products.
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