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IBM accelerates big data push

Navigating big data to find the right information is a key challenge for all industries, says IBM's Arvind Krishna.

Global computing company IBM has agreed to buy privately-held big data firm Vivisimo for an undisclosed amount.

IBM has spent $14 billion on acquisitions to grow its analytics business since 2005. In March, it launched three services to help customers sift through and understand “big data”, hoping to get some of the $120 billion or more that businesses are expected to invest in data analytics by 2015, Reuters reported.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed group says its purchase of Vivisimo will move its big data initiatives forward as it will be able to offer the ability to access, navigate, and analyse the full variety, velocity and volume of structured and unstructured data without having to move it.

Pennsylvania-based Vivisimo provides federated discovery and navigation software that helps organisations access and analyse big data across the enterprise. Its software captures and delivers software across a range of data sources.

“The software automates the discovery of data and helps employees navigate it with a single view across the enterprise, providing valuable insights that drive better decision-making for solving all operational challenges,” says IBM in a statement.

Key tool

Automating the flow of data into business analytics applications will aid its clients to better understand consumer behaviour, manage customer churn and network performance, detect fraud in real-time, and perform data-intensive marketing campaigns, says IBM.

Arvind Krishna, GM for information management in IBM's software group, says: “Navigating big data to uncover the right information is a key challenge for all industries.

“Winners in the era of big data will be those who unlock their information assets to drive innovation, make real-time decisions, and gain actionable insights to be more competitive.”

IBM expects strong growth opportunities as companies, governments and organisations struggle to make sense of the large volume of data available.

Next big thing

Mike Davis, senior analyst at Ovum, says IBM's acquisition is further proof that big data is the hottest topic in IT for 2012. If people didn't think big data was in the mainstream of information management before – it is now.

“Vivisimo's Velocity search complements IBM's analytic tools for discovering the information 'nuggets' that are often obscured by the rapidly increasing volumes of corporate and associated social media data.”

Jeetu Patel, EMC Information Intelligence Group chief marketing and strategy officer, has said that big data can be used to give an indication of future behaviour or demand. However, he noted, unlike the traditional use of a handful of data points, it is not conclusive.

The challenge is to keep up with the volumes of data being generated as, for example, 3.2 million credit card transactions take place every hour, said Patel. As the volume of data increases, it is physically impossible for humans to keep track, and companies need to automate the process, he added.


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