Gartner Says Solving 'Big Data' Challenge Involves More Than Just Managing Volumes of Data
Gartner Special Report Examines How to Leverage Pattern-Based Strategy to Gain Value in Big DataSTAMFORD, Conn., June 27, 2011—
Many IT leaders are attempting to manage "big data" challenges by focusing on the high volumes of information to the exclusion of the many other dimensions of information management, leaving massive challenges to be addressed later, according to Gartner, Inc.
Big data is a popular term used to acknowledge the exponential growth, availability and use of information in the data-rich landscape of tomorrow. The term "big data" puts an inordinate focus on the issue of information volume (in every aspect from storage through transform/transport to analysis). Big data is also heavily weighted toward current issues and can lead to short-sighted decisions that will hamper the enterprise's information architecture as IT leaders try to expand and change it to meet changing business needs.
Information managers may be tempted to focus on volume alone when they are losing control of the access and qualification aspects of data at the same time. Gartner analysts warn that too narrow a focus will force massive reinvestment in two to three years to address the other dimensions of big data.
"Today's information management disciplines and technologies are simply not up to the task of handling all these dynamics. Information managers must fundamentally rethink their approach to data by planning for all the dimensions of information management," said Mark Beyer, research vice president at Gartner. "The business's demand for access to the vast resources of big data gives information managers an opportunity to alter the way the enterprise uses information. IT leaders must educate their business counterparts on the challenges while ensuring some degree of control and coordination so that the big-data opportunity doesn't become big-data chaos, which may raise compliance risks, increase costs and create yet more silos."
Worldwide information volume is growing annually at a minimum rate of 59 percent annually, and while volume is a significant challenge in managing big data, business and IT leaders must focus on information volume, variety and velocity.
Volume: The increase in data volumes within enterprise systems is caused by transaction volumes and other traditional data types, as well as by new types of data. Too much volume is a storage issue, but too much data is also a massive analysis issue.
Variety: IT leaders have always had an issue translating large volumes of transactional information into decisions — now there are more types of information to analyze — mainly coming from social media and mobile (context-aware). Variety includes tabular data (databases), hierarchical data, documents, e-mail, metering data, video, still images, audio, stock ticker data, financial transactions and more.
Velocity: This involves streams of data, structured record creation, and availability for access and delivery. Velocity means both how fast data is being produced and how fast the data must be processed to meet demand.
While big data is a significant issue, Gartner analysts said the real issue is making sense of big data and finding patterns in it that help organizations make better business decisions.
"The ability to manage extreme data will be a core competency of enterprises that are increasingly using new forms of information — such as text, social and context — to look for patterns that support business decisions in what we call Pattern-Based Strategy," said Yvonne Genovese, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Pattern-Based Strategy, as an engine of change, utilizes all the dimensions in its pattern-seeking process. It then provides the basis of the modeling for new business solutions, which allows the business to adapt. The seek-model-and-adapt cycle can then be completed in various mediums, such as social computing analysis or context-aware computing engines."
Additional analysis is available in the Gartner Special Report “Pattern-Based Strategy: Getting Value from Big Data”. The report provides links to numerous reports that examine key issues related to managing big data. The Special Report includes video commentary from Ms. Genovese, as well as a Talking Technology interview that reviews the term big data, and why IT leaders should act now. The Special Report is available at www.gartner.com/patternbasedstrategy.
In the Gartner webinar “Pattern-Based Strategy: Getting Value from Big Data,” Ms. Genovese will discuss the importance of applying a pattern-based strategy approach to seek, model and adapt to patterns contained in big data. The complimentary webinar will be held on July 13 at 9 a.m. EDT and noon EDT. To register for the webinar, please visit http://my.gartner.com/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=202&mode=2&PageID=5553&resId=1727219&ref=Webinar-Calendar.
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Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is a valuable partner to 60,000 clients in 11,500 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,500 associates, including 1,250 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.