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IT managers weigh in on biggest benefits of big data analytics

Experienced big data project managers and professionals detail the top business benefits that their organizations are getting from deployments of Hadoop and Spark analytics systems.

With Hadoop, Spark and other big data technologies coming out into the open as key IT components in more organizations, there's a growing focus on finding the business benefits of big data analytics applications to help justify investments in them. That raises a logical question: What are the biggest benefits that companies are getting or hoping to get from their big data initiatives?

It's becoming a more widely asked question among IT and analytics managers. As evidence, Gartner analyst Merv Adrian said the consulting company is getting inquiries about Hadoop cluster deployments "increasingly from mainstream buyers who really haven't done anything with this stuff yet." Gartner is also hearing from users who have implemented an initial big data application and now want to do more with their Hadoop systems. In both cases, there are "lots of questions from people on how to make it work" in order to reap the value of big data, Adrian said at the 2016 Pacific Northwest BI Summit.

Leading-edge companies are seeing a positive business impact from deployments of big data tools and applications. To get some input on that from experienced users, TechTarget editors asked attendees at Strata + Hadoop World 2016 in San Jose, Calif., about the biggest benefits of big data analytics efforts in their organizations. Their answers, presented in verbatim form below, include the ability to become generally more data-driven and to get a better understanding of customers in particular, as well as the potential to broaden business operations in search of additional revenue.

Adam Bjurstrom, back-end website developer at e-commerce site DealNews: "We're looking to get inside the minds of our users and see how we can better cater the site experience to them. We want to connect people's interests with the deals that are offered."

Vinoth Chandar, senior software engineer at ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc.: "For our business operations, the biggest issue is making sure that supply and demand meet. And we can use the power of the data to make sure they do."

Grega Kespret, engineering director for analytics at online ad design platform operator Celtra Inc.: "Insight into what [internet] users are doing, to better understand what's happening. That's what our clients are after, too -- and a lot of the data we have, we want to expose to them as well."

Bill Loconzolo, vice president of data engineering and analytics at finance software vendor Intuit Inc.: "Some new business units that were born out of the data. We wouldn't even have conceived of them, probably, if we didn't have the big data platform."

Yvonne Quacken, former senior big data architect and now head of digital services integration at industrial conglomerate Siemens AG: "We're trying to enhance our regular [IT] services with data-driven services. In general, we're hoping to optimize our processes."

Mohammad Quraishi, senior IT principal for big data analytics at medical insurer Cigna Corp.: "What's noise to me could be valuable information for someone else. From that point of view, we can make the data available so others can decide what to do with it."

Jack Vaughan, senior news writer for SearchDataManagement, contributed to this report.

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