Friday, April 24, 2015

Big Data: Is it the Best Of Times or The Worst Of Times

Big Data intends to push human society forward from information age to intelligence era.

Digital is paradoxical: Many of us think we live in the most exciting time with digital permeation, because there’s abundance of information and knowledge only clicks away, but the others with pessimistic mind think we also live in the time of propaganda and dysinformation, or even call it the “Misinformation Age.” Big Data is paradoxical as well, on one side, it brings organizations opportunity to dig into the “gold mine” of business opportunity; on the other side, every opportunity has the risks, very few organizations reap the big rewards via their Big Data deployment, most of them didn't achieve high ROI via their investment. So for Big Data: is it the best of time or is it the worst of time?

Big Data has diversified format with five “Vs”: Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, and Value. The Big Data is characterized by long strings of unstructured and semi-structured data in multiple petabytes amounts. The term Big Data is a reference to the largest amount of data ever generated by humankind. "Big data" as a term addresses several parts: concept, data, technology, adoptions /case, analytics scenario; some experts also consider sensor and log data as Big Data because the characteristics are very similar. As per "Big Data,” there are some very particular characteristics such as five Vs, although it is data in the end.

Big Data is meant to the end, not the end. Organizations need to frame the right questions for their business and find the answers in the Big Data, which are hopefully smart data as well. The adoption of Big Data technology (like Hadoop) doesn't configure a Big Data application or solution because as a platform, anyone can do whatever they want with it, even store their personal contacts info (100KB of Relational data) on it. However, the technology was created and customized for a very specific use, to manage in multiple petabytes amounts of strings of unstructured and semi-structured data, and to capture business insight via it.

Big Data is a reality, it is tangible and inevitable. Maybe not for all, but it is what it is. Regarding "Big Data", certainly there is a lot of confusion in that many think Hadoop, NoSQL, and Big Data are all the same thing. Big Data though specifically is about a different kind of storage and processing architecture that is highly disruptive to incumbents, specifically for traditional databases or storage. Organizations need to have a solid strategy to navigate through the sea of Big Data.

Big Data is great for many digital citizens, but not for everyone. For digital citizens who live in the Big Data era, the good time comes if you were a relentless learner, an innovator or social influencer; the worst time comes if you dislike the change, lack of good judgement, only get lost in the Big Data Ocean. Your best protection against that is to have your own data, you own carefully selected information about the issues that concern you. Keep a journey. The point of learning is to gather the details around the subject under scrutiny and then and only then can you be selective. Surely you can be selective about the sources you are going to take data from, but even then there is an assumption that you have prior knowledge, it is important to be more efficient and effective with the selection considering the amount of data available, and it is critical that you are wise to leverage the right information to make right decisions.

Big Data intends to push human society forward from the information age to intelligence era. Big data is a term coined by industry to direct the world's focus towards the importance of data analytics and its ability to effect their lives. There is a long road ahead in front of organizations to implement and experience. Just as cloud democratizes the deployment of IT systems, Big Data has the potential of democratizing the analysis of enterprise data. The execution is the most challenging part. Moving the needle at large global enterprises takes some ingenuity for sure. It certainly helps that these Big Data terms (actionable insights, prescriptive analytics, deep learning, etc.) are becoming household names even at C-level / executive board rooms.

Big Data, like many things in this world; there is time to sow, there’s time to harvest; there’s misleading moment, also there’s great potential to unleash; there’s peril, and the promise; there’s plateau, but most critically there's purpose for Big Data leads to human progress.


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