Businesses today are gathering and storing more data than ever before. We are said to be living in the “information age,” and data is the capital of the new economy. With this explosion in the amount of data being stored, organizations are relying more than ever on data storage, technology and management to get a handle on corporate data and extract useful business information from that raw data.
I visit a lot of different organizations each year as a part of my job, and one thing is consistent: DBAs tell me that their databases are growing in size. I’ve never had a DBA say to me, “You know, my databases are getting smaller, and I just can’t handle it.” Nope, it is always just the opposite. Organizations everywhere are struggling with the burgeoning size of their corporate databases.
The Big Data phenomenon is one aspect of this burgeoning data growth. As organizations generate, manage and store more and varied types of data, they are looking for ways to use that data for competitive advantage. One of those ways is to turn advanced analytics loose on all of that data. But doing so is not simple. It requires people who understand the data and the correlations within the data – data scientists, if you will.
If you attend the keynote of any major technology event these days you’ll hear those statistics that are created to amaze and wow you. You know what I’m talking about, things like “…more data has been created in the last 2 years than in all of recorded history before that.”
No doubt, these are interesting little tidbits. And they might even be accurate. But here is what I think is important about data growth and Big Data these days:
- Data practitioners are finally in the limelight. We have an industry meme that is actually about DATA… and that is something we all should embrace. Isn’t it time we talked about the importance of data (whether or not we call it Big is irrelevant IMHO). We should use this opportunity to raise the awareness of the importance of data integrity, data accuracy, backup and recovery, data governance, data management, and so on. It all applies to Big Data because it all applies to any data!
- Don’t worry too much about defining Big Data in terms of the three (or 4… or 7… or who knows how many) V’s. It doesn’t matter. Big Data will soon be supplanted by some other term in the hype cycle, so if it looks big to you and it is data, then gosh darnit, call it Big Data, gather up the budget allocated to Big Data projects and move on.
- Realize that the most important aspect of Big Data is analytics… that is, how we examine the data and gather insight from it. Analytics is not new, but the amount of attention it is getting is. Use that to your advantage…
So, yes, there is a lot of data out there. And there is more being added every day (hour, minute, second… you get the idea). Take advantage of this moment in time when your executives care about Big Data to improve your data infrastructure… because the moment will pass. Believe me. And you’ll be sorry if you didn’t take advantage of it when you could have!