Big Data: What We Saw in 2011 and What to Expect in 2012

By Anjul Bhambhri

As we entered 2011, organizations grappled with how they could manage and benefit from the large amounts of data created daily, exceeding 2.5 quintillion bytes. This data came from internal and external sources such as sensors, social media, digital images, videos, transaction records, and cell phone GPS.

To tackle this challenge, CIOs and CTOs partnered with IT vendors to extend their information platforms and build Big Data analytics solutions. Big Data solutions were infused into new and existing IT infrastructures with services that help organizations assess their cloud computing and data center needs, as well as server, storage and security requirements. Additionally, Big Data technology allowed enterprises to analyze any up to tens of petabytes of data without altering its native format.

Big Data solutions were deployed across a wide set of industries this year, enabling new actionable insights which resulted in:

  • Better profiling of customer preferences and habits;
  • Focused loyalty programs based on deriving customer insights;
  • Leveraged buyer intent to give customers more tailored products and services based on their wants and needs;
  • Improved operational efficiency and utilization of infrastructure; and
  • Better risk management and predictive abilities.

In 2012, I predict Big Data solutions will expand beyond analytics and into transactional usage. Organizations will institute a comprehensive data discovery practice to help enterprises embrace Big Data to derive such insights. Over the next year, it will be critical for organizations to craft their Big Data solutions to not only manage and analyze the given information, but to also transform it into actionable goals that will benefit their businesses.

Other trends I will follow in 2012 include:

  • Enterprises will facilitate multiple types of discovery that will feed into transactional and analytic applications, enabling real-time business intelligence and action;
  • Customer adoption of Big Data technologies will increase to tackle the challenges associated with analyzing the large volumes of data;
  • The need to track and verify the veracity of the derived information and understand the lineage will be critical; and
  • Interpreting consumer sentiment with a high degree of accuracy will require understanding sarcasm, positive and negative expressions.

Finally, the focus of data will also shift from simply gathering the data available, to taking the insights learned by the data and using it to better understand the customer. Organizations will be able to provide their customers with exactly what they want and need, and increase their customer loyalty. The combination of advanced analytics and associated governance of Big Data will allow businesses to make well-informed decisions for corporate and competitive advantage.

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Anjul Bhambhri

Anjul Bhambhri has 23 years of experience in the database industry with engineering and management positions at IBM, Informix and Sybase. She is currently IBM’s Vice President of Big Data Products, overseeing product strategy and business partnerships. Previously at IBM, Anjul focused on application and data lifecycle management tools and spearheaded the development of XML capabilities in DB2 database server. In 2009, she received the YWCA of Silicon Valley’s “Tribute to Women in Technology” Award. 

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