What is a Big Data solution and what does it take to make a project successful? Perform your own experiment by posing this question to technology companies in the Big Data space. Then pose the same question to the pure service providers that are focused on Big Data. Finally, pose the same question to a few customers. Here is what I have found:
Technology providers will talk in terms of their specific contribution to the solution. Let’s think of the architectural stack from the bottom up. In the simplest terms, the Big Data solution is enabled by the infrastructure, the platform for the analytics to be performed, data software (which includes everything from data ingestion to statistical analysis), the visualization of the data, and the applications that depend on this solution. It is the sum of the parts, which no one vendor has, which makes up the enabling technologies that is “Big Data.”
Service providers will talk in terms of business needs to understand what value there is in the data (e.g., use case discoveries, the data science engagements, proof-of-value offerings, implementation assistance, and application development).
Customers interested in Big Data are looking to simplify things to get to the incremental and previously unattainable insights that are the promise of Big Data. That journey, however, is a very complex one and one that is not without risk. The customer answer depends on who you ask. Ask IT and they may talk technology and the partners they prefer. Ask the application team or analytics team and your answers will straddle both the business value discussions and the technology needed to get to those answers. Lastly, the more progressive line of business decision makers aren’t interested in the complexities that make up a Big Data solution, but they are interested in the game changing insight that will allow them to create new service offerings or help to make the business more efficient as a result of the analytics being performed.
Is it now time to say that all of these answers combined is what makes up a Big Data solution? Not quite. Compliance and security are considerations businesses must address. Add to this, the deployment options which include on-premise bare metal, on-premise private cloud, a private secured cloud, a hybrid approach with both data center and cloud resources available, and finally public options like Amazon, Google, AT&T, and others. Not to mention, the talent needed to do this all in-house by customers of all sizes isn’t readily available.
The war to win in the Big Data space is being waged and customers are in the middle of it. Continuing the analogy further, customers would like to sit the war out and have the Big Data solution provided to them, removing the confusion, complexity and concern.
Now ask yourself the question, “What is a Big Data solution and what does it take to make your project successful?” Now the answer…it’s easier than you think. Ask yourself who has the technology expertise, services capabilities, customer proof points, provide flexibility in deployment, and has the option to provide all of this in a managed service so that you pay for just what you use. Those who provide “The Big Data Solution” exist. You just need to ask the right questions and look in the right places for those answers.
Alan Geary, VP of business development at Infochimps, a CSC Big Data Business, has focused on business and channel development at software and technology companies that have grown through partnering. Alan has a unique combination of Big Data and Cloud experience by working over the last decade at both a Hadoop distribution company and VMware. Both companies doubled revenue year over year with the partnerships playing a significant role in the adoption of both Hadoop and virtualization respectively.
Image source: cloudtalent.co.uk