Why I think Big Data is Not “The New Style of IT”

We hear a lot about Big Data and how it is transforming IT. This message is loud and clear from the various vendors trying to get a piece of a very lucrative market with promises of making your business more efficient, productive and ultimately more profitable. This is based on the fact that data collection of both structured and unstructured data and analysis will bring companies to the next level.  We all see how the Big Data message is influencing the Big Data vendors and how they market their products; however is Big Data really influencing IT departments? While attending HP Discover last week, I had some interesting discussion surrounding the “New Style of IT” and how Big Data is part of this new trend.

Big Data is the “New Style of Enterprise”

In 2013 data is the new crude oil. Most businesses today realize that they must use Big Data technology to help them conduct better business in general. That applies both internally as an organization to your employees and your customers. Knowing more about your business and how consumers perceive your products and services is a way to plan for the future. From an internal perspective unstructured or unstructured data, aka: Big Data can help with manufacturing and raising productivity and overall business practices to augment efficiency. You need to know information quicker than ever to compete with your competitors and provide a richer business experience to both internal consumers of your products and services as well as external customers, regardless of what industry you are in.

Correlation between Big Data and your IT organization

In my opinion this is where we are mixing how Big Data and IT work together. Yes I believe Big Data has to do with technology and using various technologies to “capture, analyze and provide meaningful data” back to your business. Now I believe the business and specifically, customer facing departments, like marketing and customer service will be the number one consumers of big data. How often will IT actually be the consumers of Big Data? Yes, there are certain scenarios where Big Data may help IT. One use case I saw at HP Discover in their Connected Intelligence Session, had to with an IT department capturing customer forum posts, knowledge base postings from their internal IT Staff, to correlate problems reported and potential solutions to the problem. How often does that happen? How big must your IT organization be to make this a feasible exercise and project?

Supporting Big Data is the “New Style of IT”

Yes there is a correlation between Big Data and the “new style of IT”. However in my opinion it has to do with IT coming and working much closer with the business to “SUPPORT” their big data initiatives. Whether it is to collect, analyze and mine data from a transcontinental flight or consumer sentiment over Twitter and blog forums for your newest product, IT needs to support those requirements.  This is where we will either see a true disconnect between IT and the business or true convergence where IT and the rest of the organization agree on a platform to drill that so called “crude oil of the digital age” to make their business more efficient, productive and of course more profitable.The big question as we progress with the evolution of Cloud and Big Data is, will the CMO, CFO and CIO inevitably work together in harmony. If s, when? Will it be too late for your company? The biggest question of 2014 from “the Business” can potentially be, will I leverage my IT organization to host my Big Data Platform or will I go elsewhere? Can my IT deliver what I need from a Big Data perspective. Big Data is not like spinning up virtual machines ad-hoc in the public cloud with your credit card with hopes of bringing them back internally when your IT gets its act together. Once you plant and install “Data Rig” to start drilling, you won’t be moving it back in.

I think Meg Whitman said it best in her Keynote: “As the new style of IT takes hold, we are quickly reaching the limits of the architecture. We need a computing architecture for the Big Data age,” an architecture able to turn structured and unstructured data into “actionable information at the speed of business,” said Whitman.Quote from Silicon Angle Article

I recommend watching the following 2 videos from some good friends and industry thought leaders who share some interesting insight on Big Data, potential challenges and the leadership mindset for the upcoming years.

Paul Muller - https://twitter.com/xthestreams


Tim Crawford - http://avoa.com/author/tcrawford/