July 2, 2014
If you feel like the whole world made the ‘Big Data’ transition and you’re behind, the reality is you’re just like everyone else.
In 7th grade, I remember seeing my buddy grow a mustache, and I thought, “Wow, everyone is so grown up!” You see, I was a ‘late bloomer’ … or so I thought. Wally was a little more advanced, but the tides of change were coming for all of us.
Today, IT organizations and lines of businesses everywhere are getting started with some sort of ‘Big Data’ project, center of excellence, or strategy. I’m fortunate to speak to many of the leaders of these endeavors on a daily basis. If you look at what they’re doing and feel that you’re falling behind, take a step back. I’m here to tell you, “You’re not alone.”
Of course, no one can say that Google, Yahoo and Facebook are faking their ‘Big Data’ strategies. But like Wally, they are way ahead of most of the rest of us. Many tech companies are betting their existence on this paradigm shift, and they’re right to do so. They’re the trail blazers. Let’s remember good ole Moore’s Law and the chasm. When will the adoption of this technology not just be a reality but instead commonplace? From the looks of it on the street (my office), we’re on the edge of the chasm. *
How do I know we’re at the edge? As a solutions engineer (sales engineer, pre-sales consultant, principal consultant… whatever you want to call us), I’m having fewer conversations about “How does Platfora help me with my Big Data initiatives?” or “Will Platfora help me make my data reservoir available to the business?” than I was not long ago. Instead, I’m having more conversations like, “How does Platfora offer my network security analysts all the contextual information to determine network breaches?” or “How do I use Platfora to determine customer segmentation using customer loyalty data and their social media posts?” Big Data is no longer big data. Big Data is Real Data. Lines of business are realizing that the better questions, the tougher questions, the questions that will change their business require high-fidelity data that comes from multiple systems in multiple formats and needs to scale over months and years.
Here’s where we are. My 7th grade son can set up an ODBC connection for his Powerpoint presentation that hits a Microsoft Access database. Please take a moment to consume that. A 12-year-old (albeit bright and clever, but not a prodigy) uses visualization technology to remotely call structured data while contriving custom calculations. Traditional dashboards have literally become kid stuff.
Big data is not something to dip your feet into. It’s real data, the data that drives your business and that holds the answers to where you should go and what you should do next. Some of my prospects and customers started their big data journey as an operational efficiency effort. That’s okay; we all start somewhere. Once they realize the power of the data at their fingertips, the story changes… and changes fast. Will big data infrastructure save money? How does big data bring us millions of dollars? How will it save urban infrastructure? How will it save lives? Once they realize they’re not dealing with some exotic new thing called “big data,” but rather their data ― their real data ― they turn the corner.
At Platfora, we have taken on a hard task. We make using Hadoop easy for everyone. Why? We don’t want big data to be “Big Data” anymore. We want to turn it into “My Data”. If we can help people get there, we’ll bridge the chasm sooner. I hope I can help them across and watch them revolutionize their businesses.
Looking forward to seeing you there! Come on. Don’t let Wally have all the fun.
* For those who don’t remember, according to Geoffrey Moore (no relation to the Moore’s Law guy, btw) a new technology crosses the chasm when it goes from being used only by technology Visionaries and Enthusiasts (that is, geeks) to being adopted by Pragmatists, or as I like to call them, “regular people.”