data analytics software hasn't had the capability to take a large data set and
use all of it-or at least most of it-to compile a complete analysis for a
query. Instead, it has relied on representative samplings, or subsets, of the
information to render these reports, even though analyzing more information
produces more accurate results.
approach is changing with the emergence of new big data analytics engines, such
as Apache Hadoop, LexisNexis' HPCC Systems and 1010data's cloud-based analytics
service. These new platforms are causing "the disappearing role of summarization,"
said Tim Negris, senior vice president of 1010data, a cloud-based data
analytics provider. "With regard to big data, it's one thing to just suck
[data] in and put it somewhere, but it's quite another thing to actually make
use of it.
of the barriers to this is that most of the database makers, like Oracle and
others, require a good deal of work [to prepare the data] prior to actually
doing anything with it. We eliminate that and put the data directly in the
hands of the analysts."
and HPCC Systems do that, as well. All three platforms provide complete looks
at big data sets. Instead of a team of analysts spending days or weeks
preparing the parameters for data subsets, and then taking 1, 2 or 10 percent
samplings, all the data can be analyzed at one time, in real time.
bother? Because data sitting in storage arrays and cloud accounts represents
unrefined value in its most basic form. If interpreted properly, the stories,
guidelines and essential information buried in storage and databases can open the
eyes of business executives as they make strategic decisions for their company.
consultant Management consultant and venture capitalist Peter Cohan, president
of Peter S. Cohan & Associates and a faculty member at Babson College in
Wellesley, Mass., recently gave a cogent example of this in a Forbes article:
Walmart wanted to find out the biggest-selling items people bought before a
No. 1 answer-batteries- was not a surprise. But the unexpected No. 2 item was Kellogg's
Pop-Tarts. It turns out that those sugar-boost pastries are great for
emergencies: They last a long time, don't require refrigeration or preparation,
and are easy to carry and store.
a result of this intelligence, Walmart can now stock up on Pop-Tarts in its
Gulf Coast stores ahead of storm season. This is where the reach of
new-generation business analytics tools shine: by directly helping enterprises
make smart decisions.