It’s a New Year for Big Data analytics


While many people have already rung in the New Year, the Chinese New Year is still a month away, which gives us a bit more time to ponder what lies ahead.

LittleBlogAuthorGraphic  David Hodgson, January 14, 2015

As you may know, the Chinese New Year in 2015 is February 19. On this calendar 2015 is the year of the Sheep, but it might also be called the year of the Goat, or even the Ram. I am not sure what Chinese philosophy would say this means in terms of predictions for the world of data analytics, but for sure we will see many more following the leaders like sheep, much goat-like stupidity and a few charging ahead into new territories like rams!

So, late for Jan 1st, but well in time for Feb 19, here are five of my predictions for the world of data analytics in 2015:

Big Data will become even more talked about

Buzz terms don’t die easily. Look at ‘cloud’! Despite the fact that many find the term, ‘Big Data’ to be ill-defined and simplistic to the point of being meaningless, the industry will continue to use it, and in fact it will become better understood by more people. Both the general public, and people in IT will become more educated in the terms and the tools of modern data analytics, but we will exit 2015 with more hits on a search for articles on Big Data than we start the year with. The term will not die this year.

Every major enterprise will have a Big Data strategy by the end of 2015

Surveys in 2014 revealed that enterprises were ahead of smaller businesses in plans for adoption of the new data analytics technologies. Despite this, there was a lingering feeling that there was a lot of talk and not much real action. A lot of the initial Hadoop adoption was still at ‘science experiment’ status and not production business systems. But 2015 will see a rush forwards as some firms get competitive advantage and others rush to catch up. By the end of 2015 every large enterprise will have dedicated real money and staff to this area and have on paper a definite strategy for how they are going to extract business value from new, unstructured data sources.

Data agility will become an aspirational driver of Big Data strategies

Gone are the days when all a company’s business data could be stored in one place, be it a mainframe database or a distributed data warehouse. As we learn to derive business value from new sources of data we need to become agile in both access and storage methods.

Gartner’s aspirational vision of a ‘Logical Data Warehouse’ that encompasses governance and use over many data sources will become the norm for data management strategies in 2015. In 2014, established players tried to head this off by combining Hadoop into their platforms (e.g. Teradata partnering with MapR). However, the adoption of new tools is as much about lowering the cost of IT and providing future choice. Data agility and vendor lock-in are antithetical concepts. This year will see a further erosion of the incumbents as enterprises make strategic choices that achieve their immediate goals and afford them flexibility for the future.

Hadoop will remain the predominant tool for Big Data strategies

In 2014 Hadoop went from relative obscurity to become a mainstream IT tool, with several supported distributions and many ancillary tools like Apache Drill. In 2015 Hadoop, its derivatives and its associated product ecosystem will remain the most used tools for new data analytics projects. Although groups will also increasingly deploy Cassandra and MongoDB for specific needs including real-time analysis.

The Internet of Things will start to shape Big Data strategies

Every time I watch CNN on the latest phase of the recovery of AirAsia flight 8501, I marvel about our inability to track planes and collect data from them. Surely now the airlines and the FAA will be forced to solve this in 2015 and figure out how to collect and store data continuously on all flights. Will we as the public settle for less now we know the truth about how planes can be lost?

Similarly in 2015 all large enterprises will start to think about large-scale data collection and storage strategies as part of their future directions. The data from mobile devices, things tagged with RFID trackers and the gradual instrumentation of everything will provide too much potential business value for them to ignore it. And the Internet of Things will move from a fuzzy, somewhat joke concept, to a solid part of the landscape that IT departments must manage.

So much happens in one year in the world of IT that five predictions will hardly scratch the surface of what will unfold. I remain excited to see what really happens but confident that my five predictions will be in the mix somewhere. The world of data analytics and data management is changing quickly and perhaps at the forefront of IT evolution. All that said I am absolutely sure we will still be calling it Big Data next December!

Image credit: ILRI



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