Has big data arrived at your workplace?

[guestpost]This post is by Justin Bock, ANZ Country Manager of MapR Technologies. [/guestpost]

Big data has arrived – and it’s here to stay. However, many organisations are still not sure whether they need to be part of the big data revolution or how it can be applied to their business practices.

With so much data available today for businesses to utilise, it can be difficult to ascertain whether or not your business is ready to become part of the big data movement.

So, are you ready for big data? We have identified nine key indicators that will tell you if big data has arrived at your workplace and whether it’s time for you to get on board.

1.    The negative social chatter has hit you for six
Social networking has many, many benefits, but it also has many pitfalls. One of these is the way in which it can empower people to say whatever they think – good or bad – and make it available to anyone who is listening to them online instantly. It’s no wonder then, that today there is an entire industry which exists purely to repair the reputations of companies that have fallen victim to negative social chatter.
Apache Hadoop can not only enable organisations to easily manage their social chatter, it can also make it easier to respond. Apache Hadoop can be used to monitor any negative posts that are made across social media networks, thereby providing businesses with the ability to respond quickly and professionally should a customer be making negative comments in a public arena. This not only enables organisations to protect their brand, but gives them the opportunity to win back a disgruntled customer by showing an immediate, caring response.

2.    You’re finding your data totally overwhelming
Do you have far too much data to manage it effectively? Are you gathering data from multiple different sources and getting overloaded in the process?
Some businesses spend so much time gathering data that they don’t have the resources to properly analyse and assess the data that they have captured – and put it to good use.
If your organisation does not have the time to interpret and analyse raw data in order to create actionable insights that can be used to drive business growth, then it’s time for a big data platform.

3.    Your data isn’t working as a team
With so many different areas for the capture of data, many businesses find that they have data sitting in separate silos – with none of it working together as a team. While analysing data in its own ‘batch’ or silo can deliver some insights, being able to analyse data across a number of different criteria can deliver greater value.
Big data technology makes it possible to analyse data across multiple silos, thereby enabling more complex data insights and outcomes.
Here, Apache Hadoop can act as a data hub, sitting at the heart of an organisation’s infrastructure to provide the ability to store, transform and analyse data in the one place, across varying measures.

4.    You need to access data insights in real-time
The ability to perform real-time data analysis generally necessitates the use of big data tools. If you need to get real-time access to data from across all areas of your business in order to gain actionable insights, then Apache Hadoop is your answer.
Where more conventional data tools are incapable of handling the storage, measurement and analysis of data immediately, Apache Hadoop provides organisations with the capacity to gain real-time insights from their data every time.
Apache Hadoop also offers a level of accuracy and dependability required when performing real-time data analytics that cannot be achieved using the more conventional methods.

5.    You want to store it all – and scale up quickly
The analysis of historical data can provide organisations with many different data insights. Historical data can be used to identify patterns in consumer behaviour and can therefore be used to predict likely future behaviours. For instance, financial institutions use predictive analytics to asses a consumer’s past financial patterns and in doing so, predict the likelihood of them paying back any debts. Historical data, when used wisely, can have a positive impact on an organisation’s bottom line.
If you want to be able to analyse and create insights from your historical data, then it’s time for you to get into big data practices.

6.    You’re feeling left behind
So you know that your competitors are using big data but you’re not? Guess what – if they are, then you should be too. Big data is the competitive edge that many organisations are using today to put them ahead of their competitors. So, if your competitors are utilising big data to grow their business and you’re not doing it too, then chances are that they will be miles ahead of you before too long.
In short, big data is what’s now being used to drive growth and harness opportunities for successful organisations.

7.    You’re being slowed down by your data
Big data tools like Apache Hadoop provide organisations with the ability to access big data sets that are too large to sit in memory or take too long to load – thereby tying up time and resources. Where conventional data tools will fail to cope with large volumes of data, big data tool sets make it easy and efficient to analyse data and gather actionable insights.

8.    Your data storage is costing you a fortune
If your data storage is no longer sufficient to house your data and enable growth, it’s time to expand your storage solution. However, scaling up your data storage doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. The Apache Hadoop big data toolset runs off commodity hardware, making it an affordable, easy to implement data storage solution. Apache Hadoop is also scalable, so you can expand your storage requirements as your data capture increases.

9.    You can’t find the right tools to manage your data
If your data analysts are struggling to analyse your data using conventional tools, big data technologies may offer the solution they’re seeking. The big data toolset is quite literally an ever-expanding, innovative ecosystem of data mining technology that enables organisations to stay at the forefront when it comes to data analytics and insights. If you’re finding that spreadsheets are just not giving you enough capacity to mine your data, then it might be time to explore the world of opportunities – and the competitive edge – offered by Apache Hadoop.

Justin Bock  Justin Bock is Country Manager, ANZ of MapR Technologies.