Journey through Enterprise IT Services
In Journey through Enterprise IT Services, Nadhan, HP Distinguished Technologist, explores the IT Services industry, and discusses technology trends in simplified terms.

Will Big Data continue to be a big deal in years to come?

Big Data. Is it yet another term that has come, caught our attention for a period of time and is slowly on its way to becoming history? There are several precedents like object oriented programming, client-server computing, enterprise application integration (EAI) and integration brokers that have come and gone. Will we still be talking about big data – say 5 years from now? I wonder.


Already, questions are being raised about the appropriateness of the term big data. In the Information Week Global CIO blog, Patrick Houston says that big is bad when it comes to data, questioning the appropriateness of the term big data. Houston highlights the risk of the term being taken literally by the not-so-technical folks.


Here are my top 5 reasons why the term big data has stuck and is going to be around for years to come:


Foundational. It all started with data processing going decades back. Over the years, we have seen:

  • Big Computer - monolithic behemoths – or in today’s terms, legacy platforms
  • Big Network - local and wide area networks
  • Big Connector - the Internet that facilitated meaningful access with a purpose to consumers across the globe
  • Big Communicator - social media that has fostered communication beyond our imagination

It is all leading up to the generation and consumption of big data driven by presence. It was all about data to start with, and we have come back full circle to data now.


Pervasive. Big Data will pervasively promote a holistic approach across all architectural elements of cloud computing:

  • Compute -  complex data processing algorithms
  • Network -  timely transmission of high volumes of data
  • Storage -  various media to house <choose your prefix> bytes of data

Familiar. Big is always part of compound associations whether it be a hamburger, Big Brother or The Big Dipper. Data has always been generated and consumed with continued emergence of evolutionary technologies. You say big data and pictures of data rapidly growing like a balloon or spreading like water come to mind. It has something to do with data. There is something big about it.


Synthetic. Thomas C Redman introduces a term "Informationlization" in the Harvard Business Review blog, which I discuss in this post on Informationalize your data to rationalize your applications. To me, the term big data is also about synthesis individual pixels on the display device coming together to present a cohesive, meaningful picture.


Simple. You cannot get simpler than a three-letter word paired up with a four-letter word to mean something by itself. Especially when neither one is a TLA (three-letter acronym) for something very difficult to pronounce! Big data rolls off the tongue easily with a total of three syllables.


If there is one thing that is certain other than death and taxes, it is the fact that the world will  generate and consume more and more data. Therefore, big data is going to have a long, healthy life and continue to grow around us.


What do you think? Do you see big data evolving into something different? How long do you think the term is going to be around? Please let me know.


Follow the HP IM&A Knowledge Matters program for insight about information management and analytics. We'll cover key topics to help you get big value out of your big data – strategies for planning, managing and governing intelligence across your organization. Join us today!


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