The Big Deal About Big Data
This article is first in a series of nine exclusive articles written by Chris Preston, senior director at EMC Corporation
To be fair, all of these statements are true to some degree. However, perhaps the best way to frame Big Data is to think of it as going "back to the future" – we've always had the goal to transform businesses from insight, but we've struggled (until now) to make it happen in a meaningful way. Just take a look at what Michael Porter wrote back in 1979 on the "Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy" – and you'll see what I mean. If you've watched the movie "Moneyball," you see how Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane used data analysis back in 2002 to predict future outcomes and literally "change the game" of baseball.
What's fascinating about Big Data is not only the power to take business to the next level, but also the impact to our daily lives and society at large – tapping into virtually limitless sources of information to help with anything from finding new sources of energy, to improving the health of individuals and entire populations.
Most importantly, Big Data is differentiated in its "Significance," given its ability to transform businesses through strategic insight and corresponding actions (in real-time). Traditional BI architectures and tools have not been able to deliver on the big data opportunity, given their inherent limitations on the number of sources of information they can consume and needing to do it all in real-time. Where BI has traditionally focused primarily on the "forensics" of the past, Big Data is all about predicting future events and acting directly on those insights. This has resulted in a new set of requirements requiring an entirely new Infrastructure that can accommodate data at a massive scale, purpose-built real-time analytics and business process platform that turns insight into action.