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Good grip needed on big data analytics tools, applications

Big data analytics could hold the key to future business success. But many organizations are still in the early stages of deploying big data tools -- or figuring out exactly what they can do.

In an article published by SearchBusinessAnalytics in June 2014, consultant Rick van der Lans said organizations that win the battle for data supremacy over their rivals are also likely to win the wider business war. And big data will have a big say in that battle, according to van der Lans. But it isn't enough for IT teams to deploy Hadoop and other big data technologies, he added -- corporate execs and business managers also need to be in on the action, cognizant of what big data analytics tools can do and what their limitations are.

In many cases, though, there's a long way to go in getting there, even among IT and business intelligence professionals. For example, during a session he co-led at the 2014 TDWI Executive Summit in Boston, consultant Krish Krishnan asked how many of the attendees thought they understood what big data is all about. Just one person, out of about 100 in the room, raised his hand. More substantively, Krishnan said many of the companies filling in an online self-assessment against a big data maturity model that he helped design for The Data Warehousing Institute were in the pre-adoption stage, with localized analytics applications in use and data governance processes not fully in place.

SearchBusinessAnalytics and companion site SearchDataManagement have published a variety of new content designed to help readers get a better grip on some key big data analytics technologies and issues. In one article, consultant Wayne Eckerson looks at Hadoop's potential future as the centerpiece of analytical architectures. In another, Keith B. Carter, a visiting senior fellow at the National University of Singapore's Business School, details two common big data management mistakes. In a third story, data analytics managers discuss some myths about big data that prospective users should also be aware of. We also look at the need to make sure that data scientists and other analytics professionals are analyzing the right data as part of big data applications.

The cover story from the October issue of our Business Information magazine focuses on managing and analyzing big data in the cloud, something that Internet companies are more apt to do than traditional enterprises are at this point. In a video Q&A, consultant Colin White also talks about the cloud, saying that cloud-based big data systems pose the same kind of management issues as on-premises ones do. Rick Sherman, also a consultant, bemoans the lack of a common definition of what big data is in another video interview. And lest you grip big data analytics tools too tightly, consultant Barry Devlin offers a note of caution about becoming too reliant on data analysis in the big data era.

Craig Stedman is executive editor of SearchBusinessAnalytics. Email him at, and follow us on Twitter: @BizAnalyticsTT.

Next Steps

Watch a video Q&A with consultant Jill Dyché on how companies are using big data technologies

Get best-practices advice in our guide to big data analytics trends, tools and processes

Read about four factors to consider in planning a big data analytics architecture

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