Harnessing the Power of Big Data

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The benefits that big data analytics brings to business enterprises in terms of fast and detailed process of business data are immense. However, in order to successfully harness big data, organizations will need to develop whole new skill sets and competencies around Big Data analytics.

These days Big Data is one of the hottest buzzwords in the IT world and has come to the attention of everyone from different quarters. While its definition and overall market size may be still in the realm of debate, unanimity exists on its being a definitive source of competitive edge across different industry verticals. Big Data analytics brings deep insights and new perspectives to the businesses such as enhanced marketing campaigns effectiveness, better risk management, creating supply chain more vigorous.

Big data adoption is gaining momentum. Several industry verticals are showing interest.

Organizations generate huge amounts of data and then extract meaningful information from this data to derive business benefits. Based on how data is stored and managed, it can be generally classified into two categories: structured and unstructured. While structured data can be accessed and retrieved smoothly, it is the unstructured data which is difficult to retrieve and query. While data refers to any information that is of importance to a business, Big Data refers to large data sets that are semi-structured and un-structured. Today there are several sources from which data originates leading to the huge explosion in data. The rate at which large volumes of data are being generated thanks to the rise in digital content fueled by mobile growth is mindboggling. Organizations are mainly concerned with managing unstructured data as more than 80 percent of enterprise data generated by businesses is unstructured.

Whether it is structured or unstructured, Data serves no purpose when it is not analyzed in a proper manner. Organizations have to analyze data for it to be of value to them. The intelligence and knowledge derived from data is information.

Today managing exponential growth of data is the priority for enterprises. With the massive amount of data at their disposal, organizations are able to mine them to gain insights into their customers’ behaviors, business processes etc., leading to greater demand for Business Intelligence and Business analytics services. It is not surprising that these days IT managers consider Big Data and Business Analytics a top priority.

In the past the volume of data which were generated by the organizations was smaller and more structured. This data was generated from within the organization and was stored within the organization’s applications. With the advent of social media, online banking and shopping and mobile devices, the volume of data now available to businesses is massive. Businesses now can use this data to gain competitive differentiation more than ever before.

None of the traditional business analytics tools were able to handle unstructured data or large volumes. Apart from the wherewithal to process faster a wide variety of data – structured, semi-structured and unstructured, big Data also requires the ability to store large volumes of data. New approaches and tools are fast being developed to address these challenges. These tools include open source frameworks like Hadoop and NoSQL databases such as Accumulo and Cassandra. Hadoop has the ability to break up the massive volumes of Big Data into smaller data packets and analyze them in parallel. Hadoop is also a cost effective toll to business analytics.

Big data is on it way to become mainstream and part of corporate IT strategies and infrastructure because businesses recognize the benefits of an effective big data infrastructure that include enhanced operation efficiency, improved customer experience, and more exact predictions. The businesses will be in search of specialist analytics skills to unlock business value from Big Data. Needless to say, technical skills around Hadoop, datawarehouse and other analytics tools are in high demand.

Big Data and Business Intelligence Strategy

Business Intelligence brings significant benefits to the businesses. It is not surprising that Business Intelligence (BI) rates at the top of companies’ investment priorities. BI is a set of technologies and processes that allow everyone in an organization to access and analyze data to manage the business. Business Intelligence allows businesses to improve efficiency. As a technology, BI has changed dramatically since its inception in the early 1990s, escalating its role as an information technology that offers the businesses a competitive advantage. Integrating people, data and process, BI helps in making better decisions.

Data is the fundamental building block for a BI application. Apart from accessing data, there is also a need for analysis of data and determination of the actions that bring about enhanced business performance. Data has to be leveraged for better decision making that leads to improved business performance. There is a need to expand business Analytics to encompass structured data, Big Data and information streams in data warehouses.

There is a distinct possibility that Big Data for many businesses may end up becoming an IT driven exercise. To overcome this challenge, businesses should do well to closely involve their business teams to harness the power of Big Data and the benefits it can bring in. they should make sure that the business team should form an intimate and integral part of any Business

Intelligence strategy.

While drawing up a strategy for Big data and Business Intelligence, organizations should do it well to keep in mind that managing Big data is as taxing as storing and processing it. When it comes to technology, is it important to keep in mind that traditional Business Intelligence tools don’t have the ability to address the Big Data challenge. New Business Intelligence tools need to be used for harnessing the power of big Data. Enterprises can also take recourse to cloud based BI and in-memory Business Intelligence.

Today BI strategies are no more being characterized by the implementation of conventional data warehousing practices. The traditional Business Intelligence tools are being augmented with new-gen business analytics tools. These days the BI strategy is aimed at ensuring intelligent cataloguing of all the data that is generated form different data sources and drawing real time inferences to achieve objectives.
Today Business analytics is a powerful tool that can be explored by organization of fall sizes provided they have the right approach.

Big Data for Small Businesses

Though Big Data situation is the concern of the larger enterprises, small businesses have to think about Big Data in order to cut cost and improve profitability for their organizations. The SMBs have to get the data foundation layer right first as they witness growth in their businesses. Big Data adoption by the SMBs is being driven by open source software and cloud based hosting.

Several small and medium enterprises have struggled to adopt big data owing to lack of in-house skills and expertise to implement big data strategies. It is true that for some SMBs the convention Business Intelligence tools would do.

However, the power that the new-gen business analytics tools bring in can be effectively harnessed by SMBs to extend their business objectives. SMBs should begin with a well thought out Big Data strategy, invest in Business Intelligence tools at the beginning and evaluate how things go. As a matter of fact, Big Data offers a level playing field for the small and medium businesses to compete with big enterprises. Big Data analytics has the potential of enabling SMBs to enhance their overall customer experience. So, with a well though big data strategy in place with the right skill sets SMBs are set to gain a lot from BIG data analytics.

The SMBs can use Big Data to rapidly innovate and grow. By harnessing the power of the Big Data the SMBs can target and acquire prospective clients / merchants / vendors in a more effective manner and gain a deeper understanding of the customers’ behavious. This will allow the SMBs to transform the way they do business.

Big Data refers to the huge volumes of information now being generated by organizations with the decrease in the hardware costs and the advent of software technologies like Hadoop over the last few years, collecting and storing information is no longer an expensive proposition. However, it does not mean that just storing huge amounts of data is sufficient to derive the potential benefits from it. The ability to leveraging technologies to make sense of data in real time is the reason for the uptake of Big Data.

With the passage of time, the awareness about Big Data is increasing among the enterprises cutting across different industry verticals including Healthcare, Financial Services, HPC and media & entertainment who are adopting Big Data due to the enormous data flow.

The businesses are looking forward to taking advantage of the big data platform to drive competitive edge. As Big data adoption is still in its infancy, it has to be borne in mind that harnessing big data is relatively costly due to the cost of the technical skills such as Hadoop around it. It is in the essential fitness of things that development of these skill sets should be undertaken on a priority basis.
In the coming years Big Data is all set to graduate from the early-adopter phase. Hadoop platforms will be diversifying.

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