In this special guest feature, Rachel Delacour of BIME Analytics explores the idea of the hype around Big Data and how to make sense of it all within the context of business intelligence. Rachel is CEO of BIME. A pioneer in modern business intelligence (BI), She co-founded the company in 2009 with a vision to create an agile and powerful, cloud-based analytics solution for the business user, replacing the cumbersome complexities and sky-high costs of traditional platforms. Prior to launching BIME, Delacour was a young controller at two well-known European retailers. It was her frustration with the BI industry’s lack of compatible, flexible, easy-to-use tools that inspired the birth of BIME. Rachel holds a Master’s degree in finance from the Kedge business school in Marseille, France.
To many organizations, Big Data can seem a bit big and scary. But should there really be so much concern? The defining features of Big Data are volume, variety and velocity. While volume was a cause for concern in the past, the infrastructure and cloud computing resources currently available on the market have solved the volume issue, at least for now.
Cloud-computing resources have also helped to solve velocity concerns, such as real-time streaming. That means the only real Big Data characteristic that remains to be solved for many organizations is the variety of the data being collected.
The true challenge for organizations is in handling the multitude of new data sources continuously popping up in separate databases. The trick to really getting value from Big Data is figuring out how to break down data silos, bring the data together, and then producing relevant, actionable information that has business benefits. This requires query-blending technology that organizations need to adopt in order to quickly mix a variety of data sources.
Difficulty in mixing data sources can be an issue regardless of the size of the organization; even small businesses just getting started can struggle. This is because small businesses have access to a wide range of web services that are used to equip their teams with CRMs, ERPs, HR systems, etc. The result is that most businesses begin with a deluge of data from the start. But through advancement’s in technology, it’s now possible for organizations of any size to store data for an affordable price, so they can take advantage of the data available to them and potentially access valuable business intelligence.
In order for organizations to get past the hype around the possible difficulties and ever growing size of their data, they’ll need to understand that it’s possible to gain access to tools that will help tackle the “variety” characteristic of Big Data. Then it’s up to them to identify what information will be the most useful to derive from the available data.
So while all the hype around Big Data may be intimidating, it’s clear that the key characteristics of Big Data (volume, velocity and variety) are no longer insurmountable challenges thanks to recent improvements in cloud and business intelligence technology. As a result, organizations have no excuse not to move past the hype and take advantage of the business intelligence benefits Big Data can provide.
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