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Will 2013 Be the Year of Big-Data?

2013 doesn't have a moniker yet, so I'm dubbing it the Year of Big-Data. Big-data is saturating business news releases, is the topic of conventions and trade shows, and will turn the security and IT business on its ear, if the hype is accurate.

I don't mean to imply the hype isn't well deserved, and big-data is no doubt influencing many things I do day to day. It still may be too early to ask this question, but I'm going to anyway: If the data is so good, why are so many business decisions so bad?

Here's one example of big-data promotion, chock full of “majors” and “dramatics”:

    RSA, The Security Division of EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC), today released a Security Brief asserting that Big Data will be a driver for major change across the security industry and will fuel intelligence-driven security models. Big Data is expected to dramatically alter almost every discipline within information security.

    The new Brief predicts Big Data analytics will likely have market-changing impact on most product categories in the information security sector by 2015, including SIEM, network monitoring, user authentication and authorization, identity management, fraud detection, governance, risk and compliance systems.

Big-data is also thought to be the salvation of the supply chain. Real-time demand information and social media networking are supposed to give vendors the best possible information for forecasting. Yet, the tech industry — which I'd expect to be early adopters of big-data — missed the mark on fourth quarter PC demand; hasn't come up with any groundbreaking consumer technology; and hasn't been the salvation of the enterprise market yet. Both Hewlett-Packard and Dell are staking a claim in the data management/data security markets.

Toward the end of last year, IHS reported that semiconductor supplies in the channel were growing, in part because of deficient forecasting:

    The result on the whole is that chip suppliers aren't running their manufacturing operations optimally, and also are manufacturing products solely based on historical demand. In some instances, projected demand also does not materialize, adding to the already slow-moving inventory pile.

Historical demand is a better metric than forecasting, I suppose, but only when demand cycles are following historic norms. That wasn't the case throughout most of 2012.

So I've been wondering whether Apple’s decision to cut component orders is a signal that all of this data collection is working, or if it isn't. Apple reportedly cut orders because of softness in iPhone 5 demand. One could argue Apple's ahead of the curve by cutting orders rather than shipments. Then again, it could have anticipated a slowdown after the holiday season, and seen that competitors' products were selling pretty well.

I think the supply chain will learn more about how well data is being used as fourth quarter earnings get released. And maybe by the end of this year, we'll see evidence that big-data is making a difference. What do you think?

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14 comments on “Will 2013 Be the Year of Big-Data?

  1. rohscompliant
    January 22, 2013

    Like any data or info available I would think you would want to mine it for all of it's value. B.D. will become a componet of corporate decision making but not the only driver of decisions. It will have a place in decision making processes.

  2. prabhakar_deosthali
    January 23, 2013

    Big data requires  radically different and much more efficient analytical tools.  Big Data is beneficial to large companies like Wall mart. But whether the smaller partners in the supply chain can afford to take advantage of  this Behemoth is a Big question as the extraction of the required information from Big Data cannot be done by the currently used data analytics tools on desktops or servers.

  3. bolaji ojo
    January 23, 2013

    Rohscompliant, Correct. Sometime I ask myself, though, what type of big data would supply chain professionals want access to and will they actually have access to this? Imagine knowing what the competition is planning to build based on their component orders?

  4. rohscompliant
    January 23, 2013

    I think that is the jist of the IBM ad running on TV showing people fishing, running, walking on the riverbank and then breaking them down into their own preferred activities, likes and wants. Great ad related to this topic…….

  5. Houngbo_Hospice
    January 23, 2013

    @rohscompliant,

    Data and information are everywhere, but stiil we don't understand everything about them – yet, therefore we can't use all the data we collect to build effective decision making models if we don't devise effective means to clean up the data from “potential” noise.

  6. Houngbo_Hospice
    January 23, 2013

    “2013 doesn't have a moniker yet”

    2013 is already dubbed the international year of statistics. Therefore it is a good omen for big-data and predictive analytics.

  7. Mr. Roques
    January 23, 2013

    I agree with you, in order for Big Data to be helpful you need a lot of data. I love information and I'm sure everyone agrees that information is power… but when is it too much information? Is there a theory on when to stop?

  8. bolaji ojo
    January 24, 2013

    You stop when the volume of data being compiled is more than you can process.

  9. mfbertozzi
    January 24, 2013

    That's a good point Bolaji, other way to view the reverse face of the coin is about automatic tools developed for helping us in elaborate data. They are increasing in number and performance then…it looks like a chicken/egg picture…;-)

  10. bolaji ojo
    January 24, 2013

    Matteo, You are an expert in the data networking market and I think understand perhaps better than many that technology can both create opportunities as well as challenges. In the case of Big Data, technology has enabled the gathering and analysis of voluminous data. It may also create a bottleneck in that we may not have the resources to analyze the data. Eventually, though, some smart people will see this as another business opportunity and create the technology that would eliminate the bottleneck!

  11. William K.
    January 25, 2013

    The problem with the alleged explosion of “big data” is that it has very little value as it is gathered, a lot like low grade iron ore. Before there can be muchvalue the data needs to be condensed into some knowledge. That condensation, or distllation, provides a huge reduction in volume and a real increase in value. Of course, the information does not provide a lot of value until it is able to produce understanding and insight. That is where the value lies. 

    So the secret is fairly simple to figure out, which is to avoid hanging onto all of this huge bulk of marginally valuablr data, and instead quickly process it so that knowledge is available. Not only is knowledge much smaller, but in addition, it has a lot more value, and it may be potentially useful. 

    So the simple solution is in quick processing of the big data to extract the knowledge, and then to dispose of the data instead of saving it someplace.

  12. mfbertozzi
    January 26, 2013

    Well done Bolaji, it is a matter of making and allowing that the right mix of data storage and technology for carrying them through, work properly. Personally, I believe the trend in the mid-term will be towards data cloud on one hand and contact-less on the other hand. On top of that of course, privacy policies need to be updated to these paradigm. This is another topic to take in consideration.

  13. bolaji ojo
    January 28, 2013

    Thank you for the reality check. Big data and big hype go together. Getting it right is key and many companies are simply jumping on the bandwagon to avoid losing.

  14. William K.
    January 29, 2013

    I would say that you are exactly correcct. Big data & Big Hype. Sort of hollow.

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