The end of big data?
At the end of 2013, Harvard Business Review featured an article that stated: "Big data has been hyped so heavily that companies are expecting it to deliver more value than it actually can. In addition, analytics-generated insights can be easy to replicate. Moreover, turning insights from data analytics into competitive advantage requires changes that businesses may be incapable of making. The biggest reason that investments in big data fail to pay off, though, is that most companies don't do a good job with the information they already have. They don't know how to manage it, analyse it in ways that enhance their understanding, and then make changes in response to new insights."
Big data has become big business on the back of its hype, but the failings mentioned in the Harvard Business Review article have kept businesses from effectively making gains through big data. A Capgemini Consulting survey earlier this year found less than a quarter of respondents with big data initiatives said they considered them a success, and under 10% were "fully satisfied" with the results.
However, reports indicate that spending on big data is increasing and is projected to cross the $100 billion mark within the next three years. Many executives cite the fear that their company will lose competitive advantage without a big data strategy as a reason for increased spending in this area, despite the lack of the kinds of returns they would like on big data investments.
All of this points to the fact that big data as a concept is under siege - and this year, Gartner retired the big data hype cycle. This may seem to be the beginning of the end of big data, but is also the beginning of more effective business intelligence (BI) and analytics, according to Premie Naicker, CEO of Yellowfin South Africa.
"The promise of big data is to allow management to use good data to make good decisions. It is to empower companies to make better operating decisions on a daily basis, and enable innovation. These things are more achievable through effective analysis of the right sets of 'little data', which is where good BI tools come in," she says.
"Context and the question of how to impact the business on a specific basis are obscured when taken from the perspective of big data, and yet those are the very insights companies are looking to gain. To gain the value of data, the insights needed to support decision-making, BI and analytics must transform data into actionable information. This requires specificity, not reams and reams of data."
She adds that Gartner's decision to end the hype cycle for big data is indicative of the fact that the industry is already heading in that direction. Gartner has said big data is not a market, but a set of conditions and complexities that organisations have to deal with or exploit, and now, with new tools, technologies and practices such as the Internet of things (IOT), much of what was covered in the big data hype cycle exists in other more specific hype cycles.
"Data is not information, nor is it insight. Fortunately, BI tools can find the information in the data. Decision-makers don't want data, they want to know what impact specific things will have on their business. Big data is not dead, it's just moved into a different area of the business where small sets taken from the big data are more effectively used to help direct the business," Naicker concludes.
RUBiQ is introducing one such specific tool to put powerful decision-making information into the hands of the right people at the right time. Its BizTech RUBiQ GRC Cloud solution, which provides consolidated dashboards, is based on Yellowfin's world-class analytics and reporting tools.