The IDC¹ has predicted that Big Data will join the likes of mobile and the cloud this year as the next ‘must have’ competency, as the volume of digital content continues to grow. In fact, IDC² further predicts that the market for Big Data technology and services will reach $16.9 billion by 2015, which is an increase from 2010’s figure of $3.2 billion and represents a 40% year on year growth rate.
Says Martin Rennhackkamp, COO of PBT Group; “Big Data, which includes structured and unstructured data, internal and external to the organisation, will continue to grow in importance due to intrinsic value that data holds for any company – as a result, if this previously unseen volume of data is not managed correctly, through similar approaches as are used for traditional BI, then it will add no real value to a business. Subsequently, correct Big Data management can actually result in businesses analysing and using data that previously they did not even consider using (due to storage costs). This alone is creating a ripple effect whereby business decision makers now have an opportunity to gain more critical insight into their business and in turn their customers – and use this insight to make more accurate decisions.”
Big Data, conventional data and advanced analytics within the BI world are typically used together to offer an organisation insight into potential business risks as well as opportunities. In fact, if big data is underpinned by real-time BI, it can identify and combat a number of organisational risks from over-exposure; over-spend; excessive churn; revenue assurance; fraud detection and prediction to name a few. It has been said, according to research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office³, that Big Data will become a key basis of competition, forming the foundation of new waves of productivity, growth, innovation and consumer surplus. “The more data that is analysed, more insight can be derived and thus, more informed business decisions can be made – this is a clear business benefit in itself,” adds Rennhackkamp.
In fact, a recently published report by the McKinsley Global Institute estimated that a retailer has the opportunity to increase their operating margin by more than 60%⁴ when they start embracing and utilising big data – an astounding figure. Harnessing the wealth of available information through Big Data analysis is going to have a direct effect on increasing the bottom line – making it priceless.
As with all new technology trends, there are also always critical considerations that need to be accounted for, and Big Data is certainly no different. As Big Data is all about volumes of information, security becomes one such key factor that businesses utilising Big Data must consider. Says Alexander Erofeev, Chief Marketing Officer at Kaspersky Lab; “Certainly it is critically important for businesses to look at technologies such as real-time BI to manage this data, however what businesses also need to consider, which in our opinion is also lacking, is the security aspect and potential risk that Big Data can present to an organisation, especially if the data is not being managed correctly.”
According to Kaspersky Lab, there are 125 000 new malware samples appearing every day. While not all of the samples that appear will impact businesses, these numbers are certainly evident of the rate in which cybercriminal activity is increasing around the world. Today, cybercriminals are shifting their focus from the consumer market to businesses – the reason being that cybercriminals are fast realising the value that business data holds, and are therefore exploiting this for their own financial gains.
“Data is a business asset, but an asset that needs the right security protection if it is to provide the benefits an organisation wants. Compromised data can destroy business servers and end up causing more damage than good,” adds Erofeev.
“Big Data can add tremendous benefits to business, but like everything, it must be investigated, must make business sense and must at the end of the day not pose a security threat to the business. Big Data and Security should go hand in hand when a business is investing in the concept, as this will go a long way in reaping the benefits that both have to offer,” concludes Rennhackkamp.
¹IDC Predictions 2012, The IDC,
²IDC sizes up the Big Data market, The New York Times, March 2012, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/idc-sizes-up-the-big-data-market/
³ Big Data: the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity, McKinsey &Company, http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/MGI/Research/Technology_and_Innovation/Big_data_The_next_frontier_for_innovation
⁴ The McKinsey Global Institute report, “The opportunities in business and government of using big data”