Technically Speaking

The Official Bigstep Blog

Are You Ready for the Future of Big Data?

The initial surge of the big data revolution is winding down. Most businesses are now at least aware of the potential big data holds and have a plan in place to leverage it at some point. Breathe a sigh of relief, and then get ready for the next phase: acceptance and company-wide adoption.

The Future of Big Data Means Choosing the Right Big Data Tools

There are several tools available to crunch big data, including Hadoop, MongoDB, NoSQL, Spark, etc. Which ones are going to be relevant into the future and which will likely fall by the wayside or get gobbled up by a competitor? That’s hard to tell. For now, it looks like Hadoop is a safe bet, though MapReduce is slowly giving way to strides in Spark. It’s also safe to say that NoSQL and other non-relational databases are going to overtake SQL models as more unstructured data enters the mix.

The Future of Big Data Means More Training

There is a myth going around that you need to ‘hire a data scientist’. The reality is, there aren’t (m)any to be found. The best bet is to home grow your own, or to hire the closest thing you can find and groom them. Either way, it means substantial investments in training. Fortunately, a number of programs are springing up to address the data scientist shortage. Some are offered through local colleges and universities, while others are available through vendors. Just be sure you’ve nailed down which vendor(s) you plan to use so that their training will be applicable to your processes. Also, give your newly hatched data scientists the time they need to learn, develop, and mature. Not only does the technology and math behind data science carry a learning curve, but the art involved takes time to master, too.

The Future of Big Data Means Better Security

If Big Data Round One taught anything, it was that businesses have been ridiculously lax about securing the data. The data breaches at Sony, Home Depot, Target, a laughable number of government agencies, and other organizations have all highlighted the inadequacy of database monitoring, alerts, breach response, and cyber forensics. If big data is going to go anywhere in the future, business has to get serious about data protection now.

The Future of Big Data Means Changes in Compliance Regulations

One of the side effects of businesses being mind-bogglingly lax with data security is that legislators are getting antsy about the damage data breaches are doing to the consumer and to the economy. It’s taken legislators in first world regions like Europe and North America some time to understand exactly what big data is and how to regulate it. Now that they have somewhat of a grasp on it, expect new regulations to come down the pipelines, both from governments and from specific industries, like healthcare (think a broader, stricter version of HIPAA), finance, retail, e-commerce, etc.

The Future of Big Data Means Integrating Data Into the Workflow Across the Organization

Big data has a role to play in every corner of the organization. The next step is for companies to leverage data analytics across departments and processes. Data will no longer be kept isolated in silos by individual teams.

Round One in most organizations was limited to a single department or section of the business. Marketing, for example, has had their hands deep into big data for it’s usefulness in personalizing and targeting marketing messages. Big data has also proven useful in sales, with CRM software, and in finance, with EPM and other BI applications. The next phase will entail bringing big data across entire companies. Expect advancements in data analytics for product development, automating and streamlining operations in various industries, more automation and advancements with big data in transportation, and other innovations for making use of available data and analytics.

Are you ready for the future of big data?

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