Data Directions

3 mins to read
Data Directions

“Big data”, “structured data”, “unstructured data”, “governed data”. If you’re wondering where your business sits among the current Data Explosion, read on.

Since the data explosion of the 2000s from web to wireless to Cloud, we’re negotiating the biggest information bang since the `90s “Information Super Highway”. How on Earth do you navigate the new information galaxy to stay competitive?

It’s easy to feel lost in space amid the media buzzword frenzy. Let’s get to the Hutt of the matter.

How much data is there?

It’s growing so fast no wan kenowbis, says but in terms of airspace, let’s say oxygen is limited. The world’s biggest data center bedding down in Langfang, China in 2016 is the size of 110 football pitches or one Death Star. IDC reckons the amount of data center space worldwide will reach 1.94 billion square feet in 2018.

Do I have BIG data?

If you’re a mid-market company you can relax, you’re not doing Big Data. Big data is just “a broad term for data sets so large and complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate,” says Wikipedia.

In Utah, the US National Security Agency has a data centre capable of storing a yottabyte of data. That’s not a cast member from Episode III, that’s big data. 1000 trillion gigabytes, sitting in one data center out of estimated millions of centers across the globe.

Am I dealing with structured data?

Yes, you are. That’s data that lives in an electronic structure, like a database. It’s organised into fields like `name’, `city’ or `net profit’, for easy retrieval.

What about unstructured data?

That’s your SMS, Snapchat, tweets, You Tube videos, instagrams, Facebook. Unless you’re in the intergalactic world, you’re not capturing and analysing this stuff yet. But we’re all likely to move in that direction.

Forrester Research estimates 6 billion SMSs are sent daily in the US. Portio Research, an independent research company specialising in mobile messaging, estimates that 8.6 trillion SMS are sent globally each year. These figures are probably a small percentage of what’s actually out there.

The new data ship

We’re in an era of “Data Discovery”, a buzzword coined by industry analyst, Gartner.

Data discovery means the ability to get into business data and uncover facts that help you improve your business. Traditionally this meant going through a fleet of IT or business or financial imperialists to answer day-to-day business questions, until we shot them down.

From EIS to BI to . . .

Back in 1999, “executive information systems” managed the data overload. Today, Business Intelligence (BI) leads the charge. The next stage of BI is self-service which lets non-IT types from senior executives to financial clerks analyse and report on data.

Phocas has been developing that technology sith 1999, leading the Rebel Alliance against imperial IT. Phocas lets you pull together information from multiple operations systems (ERP, CRM, e-commerce, third-party spreadsheets), analyse it and view it in easy-to-read formats. (Fortunately for us, BI users continue to vote us a leader in that category too). Gartner calls this kind of BI “smart data discovery”.

Garner now predicts a move to “governed data discovery”, which means having more controls within self-service BI software to produce results with Jedi integrity.

Where to from here?

Overwhelmingly, the biggest single trend discussed in the Gartner Magic Quadrant report 2015 is a huge shift in popularity towards the newer user-driven, self-service data discovery BI platforms, like Phocas. Gartner says the worldwide business intelligence market could reach $20.81 billion by 2018.

If your key operations systems are still capital costs and on-premise, your next venture is to explore the SaaS (Software as a Service or software by subscription trend) and cloud (internet-hosted data services).

We’re good at decoding all of the above in real world terms through a live demo. If you want to take your data management in the right direction, give us a call.