Big data: The rising importance of information assets

Big data: The rising importance of information assets

Sep 23, 2014


The growing importance of big data across both business and IT departments is becoming difficult to ignore. Once a buzzword confined largely to technology circles, big data is now a core concern in many organizations.

Recent research from Accenture showed that companies not only consider big data a vital part of digital transformation, they judge project outcomes to be very satisfactory. In fact, 92 per cent of organizations carrying out big data initiatives are happy with the results. Moreover, 89 per cent of respondents feel such solutions are 'very' or 'extremely important' to their companies' digital aspirations.

Senior Managing Director of Accenture Analytics Narendra Mulani said executives are beginning to understand that big data is a crucial element in digital transformation efforts.

"Instead of just talking about the potential results that can be achieved from big data, they are realizing actual benefits including increasing revenues, a growing base of loyal customers, and more efficient operations," he stated.

"Companies not implementing big data solutions are missing an opportunity to turn their data into an asset that drives business and a competitive advantage."

Big data spending growth

Accenture's study appears to be supported by recent figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC), which highlighted a rise in spending on both big data solutions and business analytics tools. IDC estimates suggest the worldwide big data technology and services market will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.4 per cent through to 2018.

By this time, the sector will be worth approximately $41.5 billion. According to the company, this is roughly six times the growth rate expected in the overall IT market over the next three to four years. 

Dan Vesset, IDC program vice-president for business analytics and big data, stated that this particular segment of the IT industry is expected to continue transforming businesses worldwide for some time.

"In the context of the broader ICT market, and even the overall business analytics market, the big data market is quickly moving from a state of nascence to a state of maturity," he explained.

Analytics on the rise

In a separate report released last week (September 11), the IDC noted that the growing momentum of big data is having a significant impact on business analytics requirements.

The business analytics services industry will experience a CAGR of 14.7 per cent until 2018, with spending reaching as high as $89.6 billion.

Ali Zaidi, senior research analyst of IT consulting and systems integration strategies at the IDC, said an increasing number of organizations will begin outsourcing their business analytics in order to maintain operational efficiency.

"Talent shortage coupled with the high interest in adoption of new technologies will continue to drive growth in business analytics services spending at the worldwide level," he commented.

The effect on database administrators

Clearly, growth in big data is likely to have a significant impact on database administrators (DBAs), who may require new tools and skills to add value to big data projects.

Michelle Malcher, president of the Independent Oracle Users Group, claimed in an article for the May-June 2014 edition of Oracle Magazine that one of the key areas where DBAs can help is big data reporting.

"Another valuable skill to develop is the ability to create the data structures necessary for reporting," she said. "For acceptable performance, some reporting tools might require the creation of materialized views or even separate reporting databases."

This is where real-time replication software can provide significant advantages, allowing organizations to set up and manage dedicated databases for up-to-date, cost-effective reporting exercises. These separate databases are not only always available, they reduce the operational burden on transactional and online systems.

"Tuning queries for reporting is a typical DBA skill, and understanding the tuning needs for different graphing and visualization tools is important for big data," Ms Malcher concluded.

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