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Extracting real business value from Big Data

"The experimental era of Big Data is coming to an end. Organisations are formalising their use of the technology to realise the business value they expect to find,” according to Tom Pringle, practice leader at analyst house, Ovum.

This is backed up by Ovum’s recent predictions that the Big Data market is expected to grow by 50 per cent by 2019 and will play an increasingly important role in positioning Big Data analytics as a core capability for many enterprises.

However, as most organisations have discovered, this volume of unstructured information is multiplying more rapidly than anyone could have predicted, and while the potential for using the resulting analytics to raise productivity and improve decision making is huge, extracting real business value from such a deluge of data is no mean feat. In fact, new research from IP EXPO Europe reveals that just a third (34 per cent) of IT departments say that Big Data has delivered the ROI they expected.

But as the need to analyse Big Data increases, so does the quality of the tools and services available in order to accomplish this. As a result, businesses are still optimistic about the benefits that the technology has to offer, with 37 per cent of IT departments saying they believe Big Data will deliver the expected ROI they hope for in the near future.

Unlocking value from Big Data

So how can businesses begin reaping the rewards of Big Data quickly to ensure they achieve their desired ROI?

Mark Morrissey, senior director, education programs at Cloudera, an exhibitor at this year’s IP EXPO Europe, says: “Unlocking business value from Big Data doesn’t end at buying data analytics technologies. Businesses must also fully train their employees or data analysis teams on how to properly use technology like Hadoop.

"The best data scientists are a blend of developer and statistician; there are a number of online courses and classroom training available to get them off and running with these technologies quickly, and/or to help those without the ideal developer/statistician background fill the gaps so they can meet their businesses’ specific Big Data requirements.”

Big Data is no longer just for ‘techies’

The advantages of Big Data are not just limited to certain departments or ‘techy’ individuals within businesses – each area of an organisation can benefit from data that can help them do their jobs faster and more easily than ever before. In fact, our research also found that 70 per cent of IT departments believe their business would benefit if each department had access to more relevant data.

For example, in any one organisation, a marketing department could benefit from data analytics tools to track their marketing efforts and better target customers and prospects based on sentiment analysis, purchase or browsing history and email marketing click-throughs. Meanwhile, the finance department could use Big Data to improve their forecasting and give themselves alerts when possible problems occur. Accounts receivable, for instance, could set up triggers for when a customer that normally follows a particular payment pattern is behind and provide the company with an alert to look into the matter, or on a larger scale, pinpoint clients that keep missing their payments.

Finally, a HR department may use Big Data tools to make evidence-based talent management decisions and to also track the effectiveness of current recruitment advertising efforts in comparison to their competitors.

Matt Davies, head of marketing, EMEA at Splunk, another exhibitor at this year’s IP EXPO Europe, says: “Big Data comes from a lot of places and machine data is one of the largest sources. This data is often very complex, fast moving and varied and the value from it is largely untapped. This machine data can come from everything from a data centre, mobile device or car, to a network or security devices. One of the big challenges with this machine data and any Big Data is the ability to democratise that data to make it usable and accessible for anyone from a developer all the way through to a marketing manager. The ability to manage, question, search, analyse and visualise this data is key to unlocking the value of Big Data for everyone.”

Ted Orme, Director of Business Development at Attunity, also an exhibitor at the event, says: “Big Data is exploding, but so are the number of data sources, both internal and external, from which companies are gaining insight. So much Big Data now comes from outside the business, often unstructured, and it has to be sorted, analysed and reconciled with traditional data to generate useful insights.

"Enterprises need data usage analytics solutions that provide more visibility into their data architecture. Granular insight into which data is being used by which departments and when can support charge-back initiatives as well as help businesses modernise their platforms and rebalance data placement to enable an optimised data management ecosystem.”

The Big Data debate continues

This year’s IP EXPO Europe will play host to Data Analytics Europe, as well as five other sub-events, which will explore the ways in which every area of the business can gain bigger and better insights from Big Data faster than ever before.

Through this year’s on-site Tech Clinic, the Future of Data Analytics panel debate, and through keynotes throughout the show, IT leaders and professionals will have the opportunity to understand the huge impact Big Data can have on all areas of business from improving frontline business right through to improving infrastructure and storage capabilities.

The event will feature key data analytics bods such as Mark Darbyshire, Chief technology Advisor at SAP UKI, Tugdual Grall, Chief Technical Evangelist EMEA at MapR Technologies and Aimie Chapple, Managing Director of Innovation at Accenture, all sharing insights on how businesses can unlock more value from Big Data.

Bradley Maule-ffinch, Director of Strategy, IP EXPO Europe

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