The debate: Defining the value of big data


Next week I’m moderating a debate entitled:  What’s Next for IT? Video Debate Series: IT experts discuss big data and analytics. This debate will look at the pros as well as the cons of this technology for the enterprise. Focusing on the business value.

The rise of big data has provided a fundamental shift in how we think about storing and leveraging structured and unstructured data. Indeed, when using this distributed database technology, as well as divide-and-conquer data queries, we now have the capability to gather information in less than 5 seconds, that once took us 5 hours, or 5 days.

The power of this technology is clear. For instance, the ability to determine the current productivity of a manufacturing facility by analyzing data coming from the machines on the factory floor. Or, perhaps looking at the potential sales of a new product line by mashing up sales data, with petabytes of information spinning out of social networks. You get the idea.

So why is there a debate? As Kevin Fitchard put it in a recent GigaOM article:

“Big data usually yields small bits of useful information. Sometimes those small bits of information can be very valuable, but ultimately there’s an economics calculation that has to be made: is the expense of collecting, storing and crunching that data to extract that information actually smaller than the value it brings your company?”

So, we know there is a significant cost to building and deploying big data systems. Is the investment worth the value that it brings? I suspect in some cases it’s a very easy business case to make. However, considering most enterprises the value of big data will vary. Indeed, it’s perhaps contraindicated for many enterprises that may not benefit from the analytics.

So, the debate around the value is not a debate around the technology. The use of big data is like any other technology. There has to be a business justification for it.  How you define that business justification will be part of our discussion. Please make sure to join us.

Click below to register for the debate:
Register Now for the "What's Next for IT?" Debate Series!

David Linthicum is a true thought leader and an expert in complex distributed systems, including cloud computing, data integration, service oriented architecture (SOA), and big data systems. Leading technology publications frequently name him among the top 10 enterprise technologists in the world. As the author of over 13 books on computing with over 3,000 published articles, as well as radio and TV appearances as a computing expert, he is often quoted in major business and technology publications. You can find him on Twitter: @DavidLinthicum

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