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Big data: believe the hype


Katie Slattery 2 minute read Data quality

The hype that comes with big data is substantial and while it could just be another example of the power of an overblown publicity machine, in this instance, there is a certain validity to the buzz it generates. However, what needs to be understood about big data is that it's all about perception - its effect on the way business is done is actually very significant.

For Gartner research vice-president Frank Buytendijk, when it comes to big data, the buzz around it actually conceals the "enormity of it". It has – and is – already having a revolutionary impact.

Writing in the Financial Times, the expert is candid in his opinion that a lot still needs to be understood about it. For one, big data is not just about "big" and it is not just about "data – it is so much more.

Big, he explains, refers to the high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety nature of this endless stream of information, while data refers to the value of this information.

"Gartner called 2013 the year of experimentation for big data – a year in which companies other than Internet retailers, large and small, start to discover the value of big data for their organisations," Mr Buytendijk.

"During this time, hundreds of useful business cases have emerged. Clearly, organisations see the biggest potential in improving customer insight and interaction. But when looking at where investments have gone so far, process improvement leads the way."

For Mr Buytendijk, when it comes to big data implementation, success only comes to organisations who embrace it in a creative way. It must be seen to be more than just a means to an end, a novel way of delivering quick solutions. Big data is here to stay so the foundations for success must be laid for the long-term.

A lot of his sentiments echo what Johan Krebbers, vice-president of architecture at Shell, told audience members at the recent SAS Premier Business Leadership Series event.

"If you want a step-change in efficiency, you need to have better quality of data," he said. "Data is very much a business issue, you’ve got to make sure the business understands the importance of it and people take ownership."