Next Step in Extracting Knowledge from Big Data

Rachel Delacour at Java Developer’s Journal thinks 2014 will be The Year the Entire Cloud Becomes Your Data Warehouse:

Data sources proliferate at a dizzying speed. Almost every week, new streams come online that a modern company needs to monitor and analyze, from sensors and consumer actions to supplier feeds. If they don’t tap into this data, they literally leave money on the table.

That’s why the smartest enterprises will increasingly demand cloud services that are open ended, agile and flexible enough to accommodate as many new data streams as possible. Not a 10 or 20, but 50 or 60 data streams, no matter whether they are structured or unstructured, on-premise or from a server half a world away. What’s more, these modern services have to be designed in a way that allows users to easily connect and query them to get answers to their pressing business questions at the spur of a moment.

In 2014, cloud BI will offer companies or teams inside an organization an easy, quick and affordable shortcut through the maze of messy sources, bypassing old and proprietary infrastructure. Think of it as an invitation to just “pay as you know,” channeling and profiting from data streams we haven’t even heard of today.

While it is certainly true that data can be gathered from ever-increasing sources, and that analyzing them right off the cloud would be  useful, to think that the transformation will happen next year is uber-optomistic. Organizations are only now wrestling with choosing what data to focus on and learning the tools to do so. To think that disparate cloud vendors will deliver the unified functionality of cross-repository BI analysis is unrealistic. Someday, maybe. 2014, no.

However, Darren Guarnaccia writing for CMS Wire agrees that BI from disparate sources is essential and predicts that 2014 will be The Year of Connected Customer Data:

[Marketers] want the ease-of-use and efficiency gained through connecting the customer data and putting it to work.

This has become a priority because for the first time marketers have lots of data at their fingertips. Advances in technology — drawn in part from the advertising industry — have shown the marketing industry how to collect masses of new data from customers. Marketers can now use similar strategies and want to look at that data as a whole. Connecting this data will enable marketers to gain a 360 review of each individual customer.

Finally, marketers can track the behavior of “Customer Joe” across channels; he will be the same Joe on the web, as he is in email marketing, on Facebook and when he calls in to the call center. The data that represents Joe has to be cumulative — and the view of Joe has to be the same no matter where Joe connects. This will be the year that marketers make sense of the data — and so make sense of “Joe” — by connecting that disparately collected customer data together. Because after last year’s escalation, marketers have realized that until data is connected, it is not meaningful.

So how does the modern organization get that true 360° view of customers? How does it target specific demographics with meaningful content that drives people to purchase products and services or (as in the case of charities like St. Jude) to donate and keep donating year after year?

Jorge Lopez posits that Hadoop will finally enter the mainstream with Four Big Data and Hadoop Trends for 2014:

In 2012 we heard, “What is Hadoop?” In 2013 the question evolved into, “What do I do with Hadoop?” Today’s question? “What’s the best way to do it with Hadoop?” …

The good news is, the universe of big data and Hadoop seem to be playing “Back to the Future” all over again. With commercial and open source vendors rushing to fill in the functional and usability gaps, expect lots of progress in 2014 to bring a new order where data scientists are not the only ones allowed into the party.

Hadoop has enjoyed a very happy childhood in Silicon Valley — loved and pampered by many high-tech companies. Its influence was mostly limited to high-tech companies with the skills and expertise to extract its benefits. But the tide is rapidly changing as more and more traditional businesses start to leverage Hadoop (in part as a result of trend number two above).

Will Hadoop be more widely embraced as functionality for specific industries expand? Almost certainly. Will it succeed or go the way of Case Tools and Iridium? Only time will tell.

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