Is South Africa (and the world) ready for Big Data?

Big Data for DAMA DayIn early April I was privileged to chair the Big Data and Analytics conference in Dubai. Business in Dubai finds itself in a similar position to South Africa: A little isolated from the mainstream in the North America and Europe.

What lessons can we learn from the case studies and questions asked at this event?

In my introduction to the Dubai event I asked three questions:
1.) Is big data just hype, or are there practical applications already?

Case studies from around the world showed that, while big data is in an early adoption phase, there are practical applications where it adds tremendous value. To my surprise many of these featured using existing data better, rather than leaping into “new” data sources such as social media. At a practical level most featured Hadoop – is big data about more than Hadoop?

2.) More data versus clean data. How important is data quality and data governance for big data success?

Overwhelmingly, the case studies supported my view that big data struggles with many of the data management challenges inherent in any analytics environment. [Tweet this]

3.) What are the biggest hurdles to finding value?

A lack of skills coupled with the rapidly evolving Hadoop technology stack are some of the challenges mentioned. Privacy was a recurring theme, particularly with reference to big data in the cloud. Last, but not least, was the challenge of finding appropriate big data use cases. Big data does not suit every requirement, nor is it a silver bullet to replace existing BI investments.

This was to have been the topic of my presentation at the 2014 South African DAMA event, which has subsequently been cancelled. Contact us on +27 11 485 4856 to learn more about finding value in Big Data analytics, or complete the form and we will contact you:


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