Big data, along with cloud computing, is a term that has come to dominate current IT industry debate. With the continued rise of smartphones, tablets and social networks, and an ever increasing proportion of business processes becoming digitised, we all see evidence of the vast amounts of data that these transactions and communications produce.
At its simplest level, big data describes the challenge of extracting better insights from the information flowing in, out and through corporate and organisational networks.
While much has been made about the commercial potential of big data, getting it right demands the effective orchestration of a broad set of variables.
Looking purely from a technological perspective, there is the challenge of combining hardware, software and the network to deliver a platform capable of crunching through big data sets. This calls for a strategic vision underpinned by a long-term plan.
Anecdotal evidence suggests however that, despite the desire of IT departments to take a more strategic role, the day-to-day demands of the business sees them reduced to a role of continual ‘firefighting’.
At Interxion, we wanted to get a real understanding of the current state of play in how businesses were tackling big data. In our Europe-wide report, Big Data – Beyond the Hype, we explore some of the following themes:
- The appetite and capability of business to capitalise on big data
- The ability of IT departments to take the necessary long-term view to make big data a success
- Restrictions on IT’s capacity to deliver
- The robustness of the business case and expected commercial benefits
The study has unearthed some interesting findings – for instance:
- A third (33%) of IT decision makers struggle to take a proactive and long-term strategic view due to the pressures of dealing with short term, reactive business requirements (cited by 80%)
- Big data is a strategic proposition – companies where the IT strategy is aligned with the business plan are much more likely to have explored the possibilities of big data
- Just a quarter of businesses had explored and made a successful business case for big data
- Customer management systems (41%), e-commerce (35%) and financial transactions (34%) are the applications driving big data needs
- Although only 7% of respondents see big data as a priority currently, 62% believe will become a priority within the next three years