Big data doesn’t simply mean large quantities of data, and it doesn’t have a single agreed-upon definition. Regardless of what defines “big,” though, datasets will only continue to grow as more and more analog information is digitized, the internet of things continues to expand, and additional data and processes are pushed to the cloud, among other developments. The big data solutions available to your organization are almost as varied as the data challenges you face. One has to navigate open-source versus proprietary analytics tools, whether the implementation and development are handled in-house or assisted by a consultant, and so on.
When debating your organization’s approach to handling big data, there are plenty of factors to consider.
The three Vs of big data are the most important and most widely accepted:
- Volume – how much data; you need a plan that accurately estimates quantity along with how and where to house that data
- Variety – the format, or what kind, of data; you’ll need to identify all of the different types of data in use and acquire the right tools for ingesting it
- Velocity – how fast that data is collected; the pace at which business operates is only getting faster, so you need to have big data analytics that are as close to real-time as possible
Additionally, there are a few other Vs that should be considered as you craft your big data strategy. Different sources have their different takes, but as Oracle, Talend, and others offer, three great ones have emerged are:
- Veracity – how accurate and clean you keep your data
- Value – how actionable the data is you’re leveraging
- Virtue – dealing with your data in such a way that is ethical and addresses all of the necessary regulations governing data privacy and compliance.
Now that you have a few guideposts along your big data quest let’s go back to a specific challenge mentioned earlier.
Read how this insurance company was able to transition advanced analytics models from SAS/SPSS to open source software in a cost saving effort.
Should you go with cheap or free open-source tools or pay top dollar for the latest proprietary big data solutions?
Open-source options, like Apache’s Hadoop and Spark (among countless others), have plenty of benefits. They will save your company money, attract specific talent, offer valuable features, and can make serious improvements to data processing speed. Further, it might behoove you to retain as much flexibility as possible. With the rapid growth and evolution of big data solutions, tying yourself to a particular application could become a regret when something better and faster comes along. However, open-source tools are not without drawbacks either. Hurdles can include less documentation and focused technical support when issues arise, division amongst the development community when applications evolve, and other new controls, requirements, and development methods that must all be managed effectively.
However, many of those “disadvantages” can be mitigated and managed by working with a competent consultancy. Additionally, your organization’s big data strategy goes far beyond good data and the right tools. It needs to be a comprehensive process that involves intelligent and insightful analysts, business users, and executives; people who are capable of asking the right questions and effectively leveraging results to make more informed predictions and decisions. Those cultural and intellectual aspects are things that can often benefit from an outside perspective.
Big data consulting can also come in several forms – a boutique consulting and training firm (like what we do here at Syntelli), it could be one of the industry giants that consults on nearly anything (and happens to include data), or it could be leveraging a development community for your applications.
So, don’t be afraid of going the open-source route and don’t be afraid of bringing in some competent outside help! Both can add significant value to your organization.
Remember, big data solutions can be leveraged across nearly every industry, including banking, government, manufacturing, education, health care, and retail, and Syntelli has experience with nearly all of them.
Whether you’re looking to form the foundations of a big data analytics program, or want to refine a few specific functions, please reach out! We strive to understand the crucial details of your unique situation and offer skills and services that are tailored to meet your needs.