1 Beyond The Hype of Big Data Defining Your Data by River Point Technology I
2 Page2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Big Data Is Page 3 Your Data vs. Big Data Page 4 The Technology Is Here Page 5 The Inefficiency of Rogue Data Platforms Page 6 How YOUR Data Works Page 7 Where To Begin Page 9 Conclusion Page 9
3 Page3 Big Data Is Big Data. It s all the rage, the hype, the new must have for businesses. Organizations are implementing Big Data initiatives on a grand scale worldwide. According to the 2013 Big Data Global Trend Study by Tata Consulting, of 1217 companies surveyed worldwide across all sizes and industries, 68% implemented Big Data initiatives in In the US, the average ROI on Big Data initiatives was 37% in year one, confirming the value in Big Data initiatives. In an effort to implement Big Data initiatives, organizations are investing countless hours, resources and money navigating through the 4 Phases of Big Data: Education, Exploration, Engagement and Execution. A majority of organizations are essentially stuck in the Education phase, navigating through the confusion and hype created by the Big Data buzz while dealing with the internal challenges of connecting the needs of business units with the capabilities of IT teams. The one common thread that each of these entities share is the access and utilization of their data. The River Point Technology approach to these initiatives begins with defining YOUR Data rather than Big Data. 68% The percentage of companies implementing Big Data initiatives in % ROI The average first year ROI for US companies implementing Big Data initiatives in 2012
4 Page4 Your Data vs. Big Data The latest definition of Big Data, according TechAmerica Foundation, is A phenomenon defined by the rapid acceleration in the expanding volume of high velocity, complex and diverse types of data. It is often defined along three dimensions volume, velocity and variety. What exactly does that mean to management, IT and each business unit within an organization? Confusion. The focus of an organization s data initiatives should be squarely on what River Point refers to as YOUR data. YOUR data starts with one particular question for each business unit and lays the foundation for a complete, cohesive and integrated data strategy. Big Data is a concept. YOUR Data is a quantifiable process tailored to specific business use cases unique to your organization.
5 Page5 The Technology is Here Like The Cloud just a few years ago, Big Data is being hyped faster than it can be implemented. The River Point Technology perspective is that Big Data is more of a commodity, just like The Cloud is today. The tools for data storage and Big Data processing are more than just available, they re proven and scalable for future data growth. The Big Data technology market is projected to explode to $47.8 Billion by 2017 according to the Wikibon Big Data Market Forecast This, in turn, has forced vendors into competition to deliver commoditized reliable, scalable and compliant data storage solutions for any size requirement. Big Data technologies such as Hadoop are platform agnostic, open source technologies designed to integrate with legacy infrastructures as well as future components. Whereas traditional data storage excels at processing smaller data sets quickly, Hadoop processes extremely large data sets at incredible speeds providing real time access to end users. Hadoop can be configured for a variety of storage and infrastructure platforms as well as SQL, NoSQL and hybrid databases. Visualization tools are beginning to flood the market with in depth analysis dashboards that virtually eliminate the need for data scientists or BI analysts. Big Data platforms are even designed to maximize analysis and visualization on legacy applications such as Microsoft Excel. $60.0 Wikibon Big Data Market Forecast $50.0 $40.0 $37.9 $43.7 $47.8 $30.0 $28.0 $US Billion $20.0 $10.0 $7.2 $11.4 $18.2 $ Source: Wikibon Big Data Vendor Review & Market Forecast
6 Page6 The Inefficiency of Rogue Data Platforms Your business is most likely implementing various data analysis and BI tools right now. There is an entire industry of companies that develop and sell platforms aimed at individual business units within a company designed to maximize siloed, limited data sets. For example, a tool such as Salesforce.com is effective at helping sales teams manage leads, customers and marketing initiatives. Human Resources platforms are available to manage employee time cards, benefits, compliant employee record keeping, etc. Finance has a myriad of platforms available, as does Operations and other departments. Using some or all of these platforms cause several issues. First, these cloud based systems are often implemented without the knowledge of the IT department (which is why they are referred to as rogue platforms). Plugging a new technology into an existing environment creates a host of issues. When a platform in one department fails or has a technology problem, the entire IT environment can be bogged down affecting performance, irritating end users and IT alike. This causes a loss in productivity, efficiency and revenue time is money. Another byproduct of slower performance is additional rogue activity. If the infrastructure cannot perform fast enough for a business unit, anyone in that department can simply work in a public cloud with a credit card and Amazon.com account. This creates a whole new set of compliance and security issues. The prevalence of Rogue Clouds is staggering. According to Symantec s Avoiding the Hidden Costs of The Cloud Report 2013, with 83% of enterprises and 70% of SMB s reporting sensitive data ending up in the cloud without oversight including confidential information. Second, siloed, cloud based BI platforms are one of the fastest growing segments in Technology sales. This increases the probability that your business units are close to or are already utilizing a rogue platform. Companies are investing resources into these tools that essentially work with data created in a vacuum, with no relationship to the rest of the business. The more empowered business units become with this siloed data, the more fractured relationships and information sharing between departments become. Operations can fine tune output well beyond what sales and marketing can move out of inventory. Marketing can create a mountain of marketing materials, leads and messages that are disconnected from what prospects and customers relate to sales departments. These platforms simply allow for greater chasms between critical departments at greater speeds.
7 Page7 How YOUR Data Works Your Data is a strategy that removes the boundaries of siloed data and dramatically improves the efficiencies and possibilities for your entire organization. Consider the reason behind each business unit launching its own rogue BI initiative. Marketing needs to generate leads, manage and build a brand and manage communications with customers, prospects and the entire outside world. Sales wants to close deals with generated leads, reduce time-to-close and build a contact list of referrals to generate new business. Operations wants to deliver products or services with minimal cost overruns, inventory build up or backlog. Human Resources wants to manage personnel time, costs and confidential employee information. Finance wants to make sure bills are paid on time, collected on time, generate ROI on expenditures and manage cash flow. That s a lot of data spread across many departments and platforms. Your Data creates on single source location to gather, process and organize all of an organizations internally and externally generated data no boundaries, silos or blinders. This single source location integrates with your existing IT infrastructure, implemented with your IT team to ensure maximum performance of the entire environment while still providing near real time data to each business unit. Additionally, in the event of a technology issue, there is one point of internal contact to assess and address the issue quickly. Sales Data generated by each business unit is available for query from all business units in real time. Human Resources Your Data Marketing Finance Operations
8 Page8 Example: Consider this example of an organization implementing a Your Data strategy: Company X manufactures t-shirts in all colors and sizes. Operations produces t-shirts based on order flow and generates on-hand inventory based on projections from Sales. This also means that there must be enough resources on hand for manufacturing. Sales projections are based on the sales team interaction with customer base and prospects. Marketing generates materials and campaigns based on data such as historical sales cycles and campaign feedback. HR staffs the company to manufacture projected t-shirts, finance crosses their fingers hoping to hit profit goals. Today, a major celebrity is in the news wearing a purple t-shirt from Company X. Purple had been the least popular color in the line. Marketing notices major spikes in social media buzz about the purple t-shirt and immediately leverages the news and promotes availability. Sales is flooded with immediate delivery requests for purple t-shirts. In real time, sales and marketing can project immediate demand for purple t-shirts by querying archived and current, unstructured data in real time. That data is shared with operations to shift production to purple and project quantities, acquire the resources to manufacture the purple t-shirts and share staffing requirements with HR. HR can then determine employees who can complete the orders with limited overtime or other financial impact. That data is also shared with finance to determine and secure immediate cash needs, establish demand markup and project profitability. The IT department is simply maintaining the infrastructure, watching as the data system performs exactly as it was intended. Company X is able to capitalize on an immediate business opportunity in real time, generate huge margins on a dormant product and maximize business potential simply by sharing the right data between departments.
9 Page9 Where To Begin The first step to implementing a Your Data strategy is a general Big Data assessment to determine the unique needs and business use cases for your organization. A holistic approach is required working in concert with stakeholders from each business unit, finance and IT to understand the needs of the collective as well as individual departments. The next step is for each business unit to establish intelligence goals for data and determine the questions each unit needs answered. Then, the business units can see where the intersections are in sharing and analyzing data which allows for the development of business use cases for stakeholders. After determining the needs of the business units, IT is tasked with providing the infrastructure and tools to collect, store, process and present data. Conclusion Big Data is here today incorporating legacy technology with new tools for storage, processing and analysis. The main challenges facing organizations in implementing a Big Data strategy are confusion by the hype, not knowing where to begin the process and thinking Big Data is an IT endeavor. Organizations capable of seeing past the hype, defining how their data can be harnessed to improve business processes throughout the organization and involving stakeholders from each business unit are often the most successful at implementing Big Data strategy. About River Point Technology River Point Technology is your single point solution for simplifying and maximizing YOUR Data. We deliver complete, turnkey Big Data Solutions from strategy through implementation and knowledge transfer. River Point Technology uses a unique methodology we call the Q² Approach to align your business lines with IT to execute your Big Data strategy quickly, simply and effectively. For information about how the River Point Technology methodology can lead you to a successful data implementation, visit
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