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Big data's challenge: Braving the unknown

Rachel Wheeler Archive
There are many small elements to take into consideration when adding a big data management and analytics program to a company's offerings. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), one of these traces may be an obvious but easy to overlook point - the big data sources are new to an organization. As technology did not previously exist to take advantage of big data, companies are tapping into sources for the first time. The source suggested that when data scientists dig into new inputs, they may have serious questions.

Brand new insights
Big data is valuable, but finding out exactly where its true promise lies could be an ongoing process. The news source noted that firms approaching big information streams will likely have questions regarding data quality and confusion surrounding the optimal use of those figures. While companies often launch full-tilt into new analytics programs, the HBR suggested companies can take a slower approach with big data, testing out programs piece by piece.

The news provider noted that a small project targeting only a fragment of a big archive could be a winning solution to the firm's questions. The results of a small, simple analysis conducted with a sample of big data could help outline that source's promise for the future. Eventually, big data will stream in rapidly, stored and sent for analysis quickly. The very first process run with a particular source does not need to be that grand and could benefit from modest goals and expectations.

The prototype project is not simply for the analytics department's internal use, either. The HBR suggested that data scientists can show the results to members of others sections in an effort to secure full funding for the project. While it could make a great demonstration if successful, the process could also play a cautionary role if it fails. Companies faced with an initial dud will know how to direct future efforts.

Tech on the march
Big data has come into its own as a tech area recently, with experts in IT eager to push for its adoption. The ZDNet TechLines conference served as a showcase for some of the current thinking regarding the systems and companies' readiness for them. Nicholas Skytland of NASA said at the event that data has become a resource for tech-connected businesses in the same way oil powered the industrial age. He pressed the idea that there is tangible value in control over companies' information.