Bird-dogging Big Data Innovation in Beantown
I will soon head to Boston for IE Group's Big Data Innovation conference this week. While I'm looking forward to meeting with many of the attending vendors, my interest is mainly piqued by the planned presentations from analytics and data scientist leaders from the likes of Twitter, GE, Google, Disney, and NASA. And that short list does not do justice to the longer list of practitioner presenters. What specifically am I looking for? Issues we plan to test in an upcoming ESG survey planned for Q4:
- "How much Hadoop?" This is a Big Data conference, not a focused Hadoop conference. One of the questions that will keep vendors on their toes involves how much buyers care whether Big Data is pure Hadoop, Hadoop-hybrid, or entirely proprietary solutions. Who, how, and when are these on-the-edge Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 Big Data gurus using Hadoop, and not.
- ROI Metrics: Falling in love with the Big Data movement—its promise, technology, and practice—is easy. But to CFOs and business unit leaders, Big Data love may be blind; they look for legitimate value from their Big Data investments, and as Big Data hype grows weary, that call for ROI proof is likely to grow louder. Given that scenario, will some of these top practitioners explicitly call out value and ROI metrics, mention it implicitly, or ignore it entirely? I have perused the web, some vendors, some integrators, and some end-users for a clear framework for Big Data ROI, with less than rewarding results. Perhaps some of these top practitioners have come up with an excellent, formal value framework for Big Data.
- Technology Versus Science Versus Business: Related to Big Data ROI, imagine scenarios where IT has figured out how to effectively do everything a company needs to do to have Big Data, but nobody in the business cares—the proverbial tree falling in the forest. What portion of the Big Data equation will these top practitioners focus on—the underlying technology, the data science, or the actual business insights and business model improvement? Hopefully it will be balanced, for they are all codependent.
- Whither Big Data Appliances, Cloud, and NoSQL? Finally, some of the hottest on-going queries we receive at ESG include, "How much Cloud is being used for Big Data?" and "How much demand is there for Big Data appliances?" and "Really, do we need to use one of those new-fangled NoSQL (e.g., columnar, key-value pair, in-memory, graph) databases for Big Data?" I hope to find answers from the many leading practitioners.
It is September, and over the last many years the Red Sox were, win or lose, still relevant this time of year. In lieu of such relevance this year, and in lieu of a Sunday side trip down to the Razor (Gillette stadium, home of the Patriots football team, with no relation to the U2 guitar player) to see Brady and Gang ground the Cardinals, thanks to the Big Data Innovation conference for bringing spark to the sunset of Boston summer.