Many are predicting that big data will bring about an entirely new sort of professional, the data scientist. This would be someone with a deep understanding of mathematics and statistics who also knows how to work with big data technologies.
These people may be in short supply. By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions, McKinsey and Company estimated.
Despite these limitations, organizations need to forge ahead just to stay competitive and efficient, said MapR's Norris. As an example, he pointed to Google, which entered the field of Internet search years after the competition did, only to have dominate the market within two years.
"A lot of that was due to the advantages of Google's back-end architecture," Norris said. Big data "is a big paradigm shift that has the potential to change industries."