Big data pioneers are undaunted by obstacles

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The Wall Street Journal recently pegged the "Big Problem with Big Data" as being the lack of skilled pros to understand it, and work with it. Another report worried that big data raises security risks for companies because data thieves will target the systems with the most information to gain. And, for some, big data is a divisive threat to societies everywhere.

Amidst these downbeat stories on big data, it was refreshing to come across a nugget of information from a TDWI survey taken last year. Only 30% of those polled thought big data remained a problem for their organizations. Fully 70%, however, called big data "a big opportunity."

There are a couple of things TDWI observed that made IT managers upbeat about big data. First, they now have access to systems -- everything from improved processor speeds to high-performance, big data-ready analytics and database systems -- that weren't available just a few years ago. Second, according to TDWI, they know, "Big data analytics reveals [a] change's root cause, so you can stop it or leverage it."

Lastly, and I find this most interesting in light of the WSJ's story on talent shortages, the IT pros surveyed indicate that they now have experience using big data inside their companies. Big data is no longer a big unknown. They've gone beyond kicking the tires and running pilot projects. They're developing best practices in data management and finding success. They're leveraging big data, and getting big results. Whether it's companies like German health insurer AOK Hessen using Sybase IQ for analytics to detect fraud or SAP HANA customer T-Mobile to reduce customer churn and hundreds of other examples, the opportunities and the experience are there to improve business through the analytics of big data.

So, while some will continue to wring their hands and bemoan the changes big data brings to business, pioneers are pushing ahead, seizing the opportunity of big data to give their companies a strategic edge.

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