Over the past three years, big data has gone from a buzzword to something much more substantial. While business leaders a few years back would have responded to the technology with a reluctant “yeah right”, today, they’re simply saying “yes”.
According to Gartner, 73 per cent of organisations will have a big data strategy by 2016.
Research from Statista shows that data traffic from web usage, email and consumer data traffic reached an estimated 7,694 petabytes per month in 2015. That’s 7.6 million million million bytes! By 2016, this will jump to 9,476 petabytes per month, before leaping to exceed the 16,000 mark before the end of the decade.
It’s a stratospheric figure that hands businesses all over the world a lot of potential to grow. If large quantities of data can be analysed, and information and knowledge gleaned from them, every part of an organisation can improve.
However, as we’ve touched upon in a previous article, a bigger haystack of data is only going to further obscure the needle of useful information. More data will not help alone, so organisations need to look into their ability to govern information, and build from there.
With this in mind, what will 2016 bring in the realm of big data?
According to Gartner, 73 per cent of organisations will have a big data strategy by 2016. These projects don’t come cheap. For instance, the White House in Washington DC is reported to have spent around AU$275 million (US$200 million) on big data initiatives, according to Forbes.
However, should this data be managed effectively, the expense is perhaps worth the reward.
In a study of Fortune 1000 companies, a 10 per cent improvement in data accessibility can bring $65 million in extra income – from better productivity, increased risk management abilities and the creation of successful strategies.
Data lakes are designed to scale at the same rate as cloud technologies.
… Bigger data lakes…
With the task of information management becoming more crucial, organisations are looking at ways to do this using new technologies. This has led to the rise of the data lake – a means to store and access large quantities of structured and unstructured data.
Data lakes are designed to scale at the same rate as cloud technologies, so are easier to integrate and come with quick and efficient access to data. They are designed as a storage facility for all types of data, of virtually endless sizes, and have the processing power to handle huge numbers of consecutive tasks.
Clusters of this type have also been estimated to reduce data management and storage costs by as much as 90 per cent compared to data warehousing, according to PwC.
However, we must be careful not to think of this as the ultimate solution to data management; it is simply another useful and powerful tool we have to manage information. A tool on its own is useless, while how it’s wielded makes all the difference.
… More problems
Despite the development of new technologies, many businesses remain stuck in the past. Wherever information is stored, there needs to be a model of information governance that determines all human interaction around it, and most businesses fail to understand the importance of this.
Where it is stored, who can access it, how long before it can be deleted, and who is responsible at the top of the information-management hierarchy? All these questions need to be answered.
2016 brings with it great potential. However, if we’re simply repeating the mistakes of the past, this bright new future might pass many businesses by.