How to Ensure Your Big Data Initiatives Pay Off

Published October 18, 2013   |   
Milan Vaclavik

Big data has gone mainstream. Everywhere you look, people are talking about how to extract value from the massive and ever-growing troves of information residing within and beyond traditional data repositories. Information that, when fully leveraged, has the potential to vastly improve decision-making and transform businesses.

Not too long ago, big data was relegated to discrete projects that IT spun up on an as-needed basis. But today, if you’re not at least considering applying big data practices to your daily operations — and developing long-term plans to reliably support those initiatives — you’re at a profound disadvantage.

Why are big data projects so essential? Because they can impact nearly every aspect of your business, from operational efficiencies and product development to customer interactions and management processes.

For instance, imagine if you could identify patterns that enable you to predict — and ultimately avoid — manufacturing line problems. Or if you could increase sales through a recommendation engine for online purchases that could factor in everything from purchase history to demographic patterns in real-time, and instantly present tailored product options and pricings. Or if, as a gaming retailer, you could make real-time decisions on what happens next by continuously profiling players and discerning trends and, as a result, deliver more compelling adventures.

All of this is eminently doable now. But in order to make it happen, you need to treat big data initiatives as mission-critical. This means ensuring any big data solution you deploy is enterprise-grade, just like your other core business systems.

Industry experts define enterprise-grade as requiring a fast network, multi-level security, built-in high availability and the ability to easily scale:

Network Connectivity

Big data includes huge quantities of structured (e.g., relational databases), semi-structured (e.g., XML files) and unstructured (e.g., basic text files) data from both internal and external sources. To effectively handle it all and enable ultra-fast decision-making, you need high-bandwidth network connectivity.

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