Archive for the ‘Business Bytes’ Category
Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins is getting lots of airtime for a presentation she gave recently that charts the amazing advances technology has made. She captured more than 50 ‘Re-imagination of Applications’ that depict relatively recent history of all types of technological evolutions in simple ‘then and now’ visuals. The full presentation can be accessed anywhere on the web. Here is a link through BusinessWeek: http://www.businessinsider.com/mary-meekers-latest-incredibly-insightful-presentation-about-the-state-of-the-web-2012-5#-1
I couldn’t help but be struck by her take on Big Data.
The picture perfectly depicts the paradigm shift we are going through in Information Management. The old days of viewing the problem through a storage lens are over. In the new world, it’s not as much about organizing the landfills, it’s a whole lot more about mining value from the haystack. The companies that succeed will be the ones who build their IT infrastructures around intelligence about data. Being smart enough to know where relevant subsets are located and active enough to be able to do something about it:
- Pulling the needle from the haystack to provide a business process with a new piece of information.
- Getting rid of needles that have no value.
- Enforcing policies that secure and cleanse the needles that have sustainable value to the business.
- Identify related sets of needles to manage them as a group.
Not enough time is being spent these days framing the data management problem for what it really is. Just like the datacenter had to give way to distributed computing when PC’s were introduced, so too will the idea that Storage Environments and Mega- Repositories will give way to intelligent indexing system that identify relevance in the data where it lives.
The needles are certainly in the haystack. It’s time to start finding them.
The Splunk IPO is very good news for Big Data vendors and the Big Data industry as a whole. Nearly every major new computing era in the past has had a hot IPO provide a catalyst for more widespread adoption of the shift. The reasons why may vary slightly but at the core, it is acceptance that the trend is real and there is big money to be made in the space.
As an analogy, Splunk reminds us very much of Netscape, the company that provide the catalyst in 1995 to a wave of Internet computing for both B2C and B2B marketplaces. Interesting parallel too in that its day one closing valuation jumped to a then unheard of $3B valuation. It ushered in a wave of new innovation in the space and a plethora of new .com businesses. The fact that Netscape ultimately lost a browser war with Microsoft and faded into oblivion and that .com created .bomb in the stock market in 2001 doesn’t negate the trend. 100’s of billions of dollars in new value was created, business environments changed forever and new forces emerged to provide a platform for growth … like Google, which incidentally fetched $23b in an IPO in 2004 and is $37B business today.
What the Splunk IPO tells us is that folks who bet on major market trends for a living have validated Big Data. The reasons are not because they are visionaries or innovators, it’s because they are pragmatic:
- Every business runs on data … it is the lifeblood of operations and strategy.
- Most have petabytes of data, some ranging into the 100’s or 1000’s.
- The amount they are spending on storage roughly equates to the amount of the GDP spent on health care … that is, it’s the biggest.
- 85% of it is currently unmanaged.
- Driving down costs, reducing risks of litigation and compliance, and mining value to create competitive advantage are on the CEO’s short list.
And as such, companies that are tuned in to these issues and offer solutions that reduce the volume, increase controls and/or uncover nuggets of gold in these massive repositories will be very valuable businesses indeed. The Internet Gold Rush did turn out to be real. So, too will the effort to create data-driven enterprises.
Big Data is moving into the mainstream. Expect both the activity in the space and the value of solutions being provided to increase exponentially in the 3 to 5 years ahead. The early movers will gain the advantage, including vendors, consulting firms, and organizations IT departments. The time to act is now.
When we think of all of the activity in the Big Data space, sometimes we just have to laugh at the shortsighted nature of it. Many folks jump right in to the fray as if they are ‘shooting fish in a barrel’. And, they are shocked to find that the fish are shooting back!
There is no excuse for poor preparation for tackling what may be the biggest transformative disruption in IT in our lifetime. Thought leaders and advisors to CIOs are urging them to begin now to think strategically about how to deploy an infrastructure that will enable the kinds of controls, speed and precision in managing other big shifts in IT (like client/server and the Internet). Thor Olevsrud hit it straight on in CIO Magazine:
- Thor Olevsrud, How to be Ready for Big Data; CIO Magazine
The real question he hit straight on is how do you get ready. And, this really defies conventional wisdom because most vendors are recommending strategies that drive you straight in to the two major pitfalls of managing Big Data:
One of the major issues IT leaders face in directing their organizations on how best to embrace Big Data as both a problem and an opportunity is where to begin?
This is not an unusual scenario for CIOs. It seems about once every five years, a major transformative disruption occurs in the enterprise that both business and IT struggle to consume. It happened with the PC, client/server applications, CRM, the Internet, cloud, social and mobile. Now it’s happening with Big Data. Part of the success factors that we’ve noticed is an organization’s ability to embrace both the reality of their situation today and the strategic roadmap of where they want to be five years from now. The perspective needs to be on the journey, not the event and the reality is this:
Big Data has a Maturity Curve.
The maturity curve has two major factors associated with it and two major pitfalls that organizations can fall into. The axis are the growth in both management controls and business value. As organizations seek to consume Big Data, they have to deal with both in unison.
Headline from ZDnet: Five Big IT Trends for the next half decade: Mobile, Social, Cloud, Consumerization and Big Data.
- Dion Hinchcliffe Enterprise 2.0: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hinchcliffe
Pull-out Quote: “Much of these topics are in the back burner mode in many companies just now seeing the glimmerings of recovery from the downturn.”
Did I just see these two things together on the same page?
One of the greatest frustrations we have as IT professionals is to know you have a problem, know that there are ways to improve on it and yet have an organization aligned to do absolutely NOTHING about it. Such is the case with most companies as it relates to the topic of Big Data.
The conversation is eerily the same in most places we go.
1. Do you have a Big Data problem? Absolutely is the response. We have so much data now I can’t even tell you how much it is or where it is at. I don’t even know if all of it is on our own network anymore or in the cloud.
2. What are you doing to solve the problem? <silence>
Truth be told, there are lots of excuses why we allow the hoarding to go on, but the fundamental reality of the lack of momentum on changing the status quo is that our business leaders haven’t really engaged in the depth of the problem yet. And because budgets are tight, quite frankly they can’t handle the truth.
And so, we live in a reactive world.
We do a terrible job sometimes of allowing decision makers to ‘see what the data tells us’. Nowhere was this point driven home further than in the Challenger disaster.
We all already know the end of this story and the disaster that occurred. What’s less well known (and beyond sad) is the lead-up to the story and how NASA made the terrible mistake of launching a doomed mission when it had the data to tell them not to launch. Edward Tufte in his book: Visual Explanations, chronicles how a simpler explanation of what Big Data was telling us could have avoided the disaster.