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Big Data – The Next Frontier in the Enterprise

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The rise of IT-driven business intelligence, the Internet and the mobile revolution have seen data become the competitive weapon of choice for industry and government in today’s “smart” world. To get ahead or even to survive, companies need to embrace data analytics and become data-driven rather than simply using databases to run reports after the fact. A McKinsey report in 2011 predicted a 60% margin increase for retail companies able to harvest the power of Big Data.

Big Data envisages the live streaming of petabytes or zettabytes of information, gleaned from such sources as web logs, social networks, RFID, sensor networks and transaction details, with the intention of gaining a better understanding of customer drivers to achieve competitive advantage.

Although data and the potential for data-mining have grown at an exponential rate since the 1980’s, only today are we beginning to see cost-effective means to tame such data. Off the shelf hardware, open source frameworks like Hadoop, and the processing capacity of the Cloud, mean that Big Data processing is no longer purely the domain of the likes of Google and Facebook.
Cloud Computing, in particular, is transforming the possibilities for collecting, storing, and processing big data. Cloud services can be the source of massive amounts of information. Cloud storage is a readily expandable means of holding that data. Use of the Cloud infrastructure to run analysis programs means that the required processing power is always available, as and when it is needed.
Knowing which elements of a huge, heterogeneous collection of data are related to each other is a crucial aspect of the analysis. Semantic technology has a role to play in enabling these relationships to be discovered and exploited. This is one of the most exciting of the many technical challenges presented by big data.

But what does this demand for live streaming data analytics mean for the Enterprise Architect? Big Data means that the EA will have to take a fresh look at the architecture for data acquisition, organization and interpretation. As an enterprise resource, big data can also be a liability if it is interpreted differently by different parts of the enterprise, and, if it results in the results in the proliferation of a new generation of "information silos." New data handling techniques are emerging almost daily to deal with the volume, velocity and variety of the data, but these need to be evaluated, understood and either thrown out or integrated with existing systems. The challenge to the enterprise is significant, but these are exactly the sorts of challenges enterprise architecture is intended to address.

This event will seek to address the Enterprise Architecture challenges in the context of the growth of Big Data.



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