Big Data and BI

9:54 pm Cloud BI, Data

Just returned from an Altis breakfast briefing where William McKnight was talking about technology supporting BIG data. Although I am a strategic performance consultant, I find it very important to understand both the technology options and the approaches used by IT to deliver to the business intelligence requirements of the business. As data is the foundation of performance management, every time there is a big change in data, there is a big change in both the business and technical requirements.

  • On the business side – if your competitors are accessing the insight from Big Data, you need to stay on the same playing field if you want to remain competitive in the same game.
  • On the technology sidethere is always a learning curve as to which technologies and strategies to employ. We tend to start out using the same platforms and approaches to current technology, but eventually reach a point where we realise that the new world requires a different approach to using existing technology, or that new IT models are needed. BI went through this learning curve; Big Data is still moving up the curve to the point of realisation, that using SQL and relational databases just doesn’t work. Nor does Non-SQL Hadoop provide the total solution. The merging of these two structures via Singularity seems to be the answer that most Big Data players are finding.

Big Data is an area where Cloud is not only a solution; it is fortunate that Cloud is now accepted as a robust data solution, as for many, it is the only solution for Big Data. The sheer volume of data and the rapid scalability is not something an in-house data management team wants to take on.

As far as extracting insight from Big Data, the common approach simulates that of BI – summarise the data, move that summary into a relational environment and access it from there.

Another interesting comment William made, that unfortunately I couldn’t stay long enough to here more about was that many organizations were overusing cubes, and using them inappropriately. Any comments on that would be appreciated.

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