Big Data or Big Hype?

Susan AndreArticles

If “big data” is the catalyst for businesses to finally only now start engaging in BI initiatives, it comes as a late wake-up call! Large, mid-size and small businesses are all deserving of Business Intelligence benefits.

Business Intelligence has been around for ages and it has always been supposed to be a business issue. Sadly though BI is often driven by IT technocrats that think they now best and that they will control and provide information to the business without proper requirements analysis.

Successful BI initiatives don the support of top executives and are driven by teams consisting of both business and IT staff. By default most projects of this nature have always involved large volumes of data – so is ‘big data’ really all that new?

True – the advances in technologies makes collection of data in various forms easier and faster hence much more data being available. Yet accessibility remains a challenge and it is not until Businesses are clear about their requirements (what they want to do with the data) and IT making it extremely easy for Business to access their data, that massive possibilities within data are revealed.

Big Data urges us to consider more carefully how we structure, store and share information. The throw-away culture often adopted in recent years may have to make place for age old sound practices.

Fortunately there is decades-worth of tried and tested methods which helps us to manage this potentially nightmarish situation of runaway data volumes. By applying these principles big data evidently becomes just another source of information. Yes, perhaps it is a more voluminous data source and in different variety of formats but this does not mean we have to vastly change our approach of dealing with data from a business perspective.

Greater volumes of data could mean more accuracy with Data Mining, Analysis and BI tools since it does provide greater scope of finding nuggets of gold hidden within the information however it is no less and no more of a technology and/or tool issue than before. The bottom line remains: Business needs to be clear on what it is that they want to achieve by using the data more effectively and indicate commitment to maintaining any data driven project, perhaps even more so when Big Data is involved.