This year will redefine business intelligence. The smartest, most competitive companies will evolve from using market data to map the past, to using it to chart the future. All it takes is being able to make sense of the baffling amount of information to make better decisions. Predictive analytics, once the domain of statisticians, will become a required practice of department heads across the company to improve the performance of their business.
That’s a lot pressure on those MBAs. Add to that the looming promise of the Internet of Everything, with 50 billion interconnected devices around the worldwide feeding and consuming data at such an unfathomable rate that current technology simply cannot handle. Let’s call it a tsunami, for lack of a better word.
Fortunately Microsoft, IBM, EMC, HP, Dell and everyone else in the tech industry has the solution. Or will have. Big Data is the technology that will absorb the tsunami in cool grey boxes and quietly generate clear industry insight.
Apparently, close to 90% of enterprises are making Big Data analytics a priority this year. How many actually do remains to be seen. Regardless, everyone’s competitive landscape will change once the early adopters select the hardware, software and services they need to take the lead.
So, which tech company will make a killing in a Big Data industry projected to be worth $50 billion within the next 3 years? All of them, of course.
What I want to know is how they will position themselves? This is the new tech battleground, and strategy is everything. The first-to market approach may not be the best tact; most companies are going to want to see what success looks like before they invest. Brand loyalty and price will always be a factor. But the winner will be the one with the clearest story, the one who can make it look easy.
As soon as Satya Nadella took over as CEO at Microsoft, he championed Power BI, designed to bring simplicity to Big Data management. The new version is quick and easy for business leaders to set up and use without too much IT department supervision. They’re offering a free version for the tire-kickers, and lowered the price of the paid version.
In the month, Microsoft has also acquired two innovators in the field, Equiv and Revolution Analytics. Both will help the company establish their dominance in predictive analytics and big data.
Last month, IBM introduced the z13 platform. They say the new processor can handle 2.5 billion transactions per day, or “the equivalent of 100 Cyber Mondays every day of the year.” They’re positioning it as the new machine for cloud performance and big data analytics.
They also tout it as the solution for the increasingly mobile world, where everyone is constantly accessing information— like when we’re walking down the street or waiting in line at Starbucks, not just when we sit in front of a computer.
Last week, EMC’s spin-out company, Pivotal, announced it will open source its Big Data Suite. Customers want free access to download and work with the company’s highly successful Big Data and analytics software. Pivotal’s owners, EMC and VMware, want greater market penetration, and believe that fostering innovation through transparency is the way to go.
Pivotal will still sell enhanced versions of its software, along with services, for those enterprises in need of a total solution and support.
By taking Haven to the cloud, HP has made their big data analytics platform more user-friendly and available to customers on monthly subscriptions, eliminating infrastructure costs.
Focusing their hardware to support Big Data applications, they will soon release the Dell Cloud Marketplace, where anyone interested can shop their SaaS offerings and likely some third-party Big Data apps. Their analytics applications, Dell Toad Business Intelligence Suite, offers IT and business users a range of self-service capabilities.
All of the other big players like Oracle, Cisco, and SAP will come out with compelling stories. With the help of consultants like Accenture, or PriceWaterhouseCoopers, spending on Big Data will only ramp up this year. They know technology, they know the business needs of their clients, and they know how to make a buck.
Innovative start-ups will come out of the woodwork and generate acquisition interest. Just as Splunk, Palantir, Teradata, New Relic and Hortonworks made names for themselves, get ready for Cloudera, Databricks, MapR, MemSQL, MongoDB, Platfora, Tamr and Trifacta. Some haven’t even bothered to give their shop a proper permanent name.
This is big, friends…and it’s only February. The best is yet to come.
What are you hearing? How ready is your company and your industry for Big Data?