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If Big Data is the way of the future, who is driving that future, how are they doing it and what can today's businesses do to be a part of this next wave?

In an effort to collaboratively explore this opportunity, I began a LinkedIn group dedicated to the discussion around Big Data’s future. The group is a growing community of analysts, developers, vendors, journalists and practitioners, devoted to understanding and exchanging ideas about the evolving opportunities presented by the exploration of Big Data, specifically related to bleeding-edge applications.

It’s About the Apps—Not infrastructure

To begin with, Big Data is beyond infrastructure. "It's always about the apps, not just the infrastructure,” shared Tim Milovich, Director, Business Development at Convey Computer, in the LinkedIn group called Big Data Apps. “The infrastructure is simply a platform to delivery the apps that are critical to predictive and effective decision making."

Although infrastructure is an important building block, it’s not something that provides organizations with a competitive advantage. Managing Director of Georgian Partners, Justin LaFayette, wrote on VentureBeat that “The infrastructure and platform plays that are grabbing the headlines are critical, but they won’t create the same long-term value as those entrepreneurs who figure out how to apply Big Data to the task of disrupting or accelerating a market.”

Taking Human Element Out of the Equation

Secondly, analyzing Big Data is also beyond the scope of data scientists. It’s too much for people. Period.

So what’s the answer? The opportunity lies in applications that actually automate the insight delivery process.  Businesses that start adopting a product-driven approach to Big Data early on will have a significant advantage in their experience curve, leading to more enterprise-wide analytics usage. This will lead to competitive advantages in both the short and long-terms.

Raj De Datta explained in an article on TechCrunch, “The [Big Data Apps] revolution is just beginning. If we were building CRM again, we wouldn’t just track sales force productivity; we’d recommend how you’re doing versus your competitors based on data across the industry. If we were building marketing automation software (Marketo, Eloqua), we wouldn’t just capture and nurture leads generated by our clients, we’d find and attract more leads for them from across the web. If we were building a financial application, it wouldn’t just track the financials of your company, it would compare them to public filings in your category so you could benchmark yourself and act on best practices. Every category of software will have a BDA leader (some may be current SaaS companies that adapt or acquire).”

I have to agree. The future belongs to the apps. Join other practitioners in the Big Data Apps ecosystem in discussing the challenges and opportunities that are ahead. 

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Tags: Analytics, Applications, Apps, Big, Data, Ecosystem, Group, LinkedIn

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