Big as the buzz around big data is, the reality is that most enterprises have yet to adopt it. And that won’t change before 2015, if you believe what tech forecasting god Geoffrey Moore has to say.
Moore, for those who may not be familiar with his work, is the author of "Crossing the Chasm," the bible that many Silicon Valley companies have used to take their products from innovation to mainstream adoption. He addressed O’Reilly’s Strata Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. last week and among the many compelling reasons he gave for Big Data’s absence on Main Street, one stood out: the urgency isn’t there. More Enterprises feel that they can put their big data dives off for another year versus that they must act now or lose business.
Sure, Moore said a great number of other interesting things too, but since we’ve gone on record as saying that 2014 will be big data’s big year, it might be worth reconsidering if that’s when the revenues will actually come pouring in.
Big Data Vendors May Be Ready, But Customers are Not
While big data vendors have done a bang-up job innovating and making their products enterprise-grade, on the customer side, there may not yet be a sufficient number of “pragmatists in pain,” as Moore calls them, who have to go big data or go out of business.
If you want to know what a pragmatist in pain looks like, look at Walmart, Sears and Best Buy. They’re not going all-in on Hadoop and big data analytics because they’re visionaries, they’re doing it because they have to, otherwise they don’t stand a chance against Amazon.
Look at Madison Avenue 2.0 in New York which is all about digital -- where the Don Draper’s of the world share hallways with data scientists and Hadoop engineers -- there’s no other choice in a world where Google is both your friend and your competitor.
But these are the exceptions, and not yet the rule.
Peeking Over the Big Data Fence
For every proactive, forward-thinking company, like Nordstrom Labs, there are nine others who are beginning to peek at what’s going on over the proverbial fence. Moore suspects that some of the companies that come to big data conferences are there for precisely that reason.
And that’s a good thing -- it’s better to climb the fence because you’re excited about what might be on the other side than to jump in order to save your life.
To those who are growing impatient waiting for the big data boom, you can rest assured that it’s on its way. But do not, under any circumstances, rest. This is a time of innovation and cool tools, says Moore. And if you don’t have the best stuff when customers start pulling their triggers, they’ll buy someone else’s, tell their friends about it, put out a few tweets and …
But if you keep working on making your offerings leading edge, easy-to-use and enterprise-grade, the sky (or what Moore estimates to be a $1 trillion market) is near.