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Big Data, a Phenomenon That is Likely to Thrive

Paul Sonderegger, Big Data Strategist, Oracle
Paul Sonderegger, Big Data Strategist, Oracle

Paul Sonderegger, Big Data Strategist, Oracle

What significant changes did Big Data segment witness in 2013? What did these changes mean to vendors and customers?

2013 was the year big data hit the cultural mainstream. It inspired one of Financial Times’ top business books of the year, captured the imagination of David Brooks at The New York Times, and even had a cameo in Dilbert.

The past year also saw the start of the big data backlash, a public flogging reserved for only the most promising technologies. Every epoch-making innovation from electricity to the Internet has undergone this right of passage, and now it’s big data’s turn.

What are some of the changes you had anticipated would happen in 2013 but did not happen?

Some of the more thoughtful critique of big data is well-deserved and important. How will we defend liberty when our every move can be tracked? How will we defend the nation when every piece of infrastructure is digitized? When will we see the benefits of big data in the economy? Will big data drive a jobless recovery?

With these very real questions looming, something could have happened to big data this past year but didn’t: Flame-out. Sometimes, under the bright light of hype, an attention-grabbing technology shows its fatal flaws. Dirigibles were like this in their day – sadly, literally. Flying cars and the Internet toaster met similar fates.

It’s worth asking why this hasn’t happened to big data because the answer illuminates the path ahead. Big data hasn’t flamed out, and is likely instead to thrive because it’s not a specific solution, technology or even a special kind of data. Big data is a phenomenon – the datafication of everything. Datafication is the capture and use of more data in more daily activities. It’s the scientific method made cost-effective for even the smallest goings-on in economic, political and social life.

Can you paint us the picture of how the landscape for this industry segment will change in 2014? What are some of the broader trends you are closely watching? How would customer spend change in 2014 for Big Data segment? What makes you think customers will be buying more/ less?

To fulfill this potential in large organizations requires both new information technology and new information philosophy. For 40 years, companies have used information technology to standardize and control data in order to standardize and control business processes. This will continue to be critical. But with the datafication of everything, a new possibility opens up – the opportunity to learn from a great variety of data before it’s organized into a nice, neat model. But this new capability is not a substitute for the established one. Standardization and experimentation are complements. And the two together are more powerful than either alone.

Companies will build big data infrastructure that consists of both relational technologies, like data warehousing and business intelligence, with new non-relational technologies like Hadoop, NoSQL databases, and data discovery. The first will continue to serve up key metrics to run the business, but calculated on unprecedented data volume, providing previously unavailable precision. The second will allow exploration of new combinations of data – taking the data as-is – to form new perspectives as well as cost-effective experimentation in everything from marketing campaigns and supply chain redesigns to pin-point optimization in cellular networks.

The gold-standard data in the warehouse will combine with social media, sensor, and other third-party data in the reservoir to drive new discoveries. In turn, these discoveries will drive new metrics in the warehouse, accelerating a company’s rise to the next level of best practice. The firms that first master this technique of using data to make data will gain a huge advantage over their rivals. This is the rise of big data in the real economy.

From an industry perspective, what should customers expect?  There will be technology providers that effectively bridge this gap - making it easier to seamlessly exploit these new discoveries from the unstructured world within the context of their existing applications and frameworks.  New capabilities will allow you to combine the relational and non-relational data with unprecedented performance and ease - utilizing existing skill sets and organizational assets.

What’s in store for your company in 2014?

At Oracle, we look forward to offering our customers both new products and new thinking to bring this exciting new world to life.  Oracle will continue to make significant investments to bringing relational and non-relational worlds more tightly together to help customers realize their full value in Big Data.

See Also:

Top Big Data Solution Companies

Top Big Data Consulting Companies

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