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Big Data: Technology Looking for a Problem?

By Dick Weisinger

Wikibon predicts that Big Data will be a $50 billion market by 2017, yet a survey by LogLogic found that more than a third of IT industry executives said that they don’t really fully understand was Big Data is.  The pressure of the hype around Big Data though is causing some organizations to plunge into trying to adopt it without a strategy for how it can best be used.

Julie Lockner, Senior Analyst & VP, Enterprise Strategy Group, warns that “The biggest challenge is that many are still trying to figure out what big data means to their businesses and how they can take advantage of it. The ‘technology finding a problem syndrome’ is a big concern for IT executives, and with all the hype around the value that big data can bring, business executives don’t want to miss out on a promised competitive advantage. The issue with big data analytics projects is that they will fail miserably if there isn’t a solid business problem that can be solved with a big data analytics platform.”

Mark Grindle, Business Consultant at HP, said that “I think, just like with the adoption of Cloud technologies, that Big Data is great for some companies and some applications – but it is not a silver bullet.  It’s definitely an interesting and powerful technology but I think, like with anything new, you have to decide when you want to jump on the bandwagon.”

Many companies simply aren’t prepared to jump onto the bandwagon just yet.  Of those organizations interviewed by LogLogic, two-thirds said that they manage more than a terabyte of data, yet 49 percent of them expressed concern that they are not prepared to manage Big Data, and 59 percent said that they don’t have the tools to manage Big Data.  Further, a report by McKinsey last year found that there is a huge lack of sufficiently trained workers with the analytic skills to properly apply Big Data techniques.  These results make it very clear that we’re still very much in the early stages of Big Data technology.

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