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Big Data News & Analysis

Is the Big Data Backlash Real?

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Earth be still.  Big data has lost its luster.

Could it be that analyzing terabytes, exabytes and zettabytes of information won’t make us smarter … or, even worse, could it make us wrong?

We’re beginning to see headlines like “Google and the flu: how big data will help us make gigantic mistakes” in the Guardian, “Eight (No, Nine!) Problems With Big Data” in the New York Times and “Big Data: Are we making a big mistake?” on author and Financial Times columnist’s Tim Harford’s site.

If you believe what you read, then big data isn’t the ticket that we once thought it was.

Or, maybe it still is, say a whole host of others. They’ll likely point out that “big data” is simply resting in Gartner’s “trough of disillusionment” at the moment, because, as with most new technologies, the number of failures outweigh the number of successes early on.

So, if you buy Gartner’s theory, we’ll slowly but surely, learn to do big data better, climb out of the trough and onto the Slope of Enlightenment where it will become more and more embraced by the mainstream.

Big data will present us with tremendous new insights, just not quite yet.

Time Out: You Can Quit Looking for Data Scientists

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Data scientists are hard to find and expensive to keep, but that doesn’t mean that big data insights are beyond your reach.

And, no, we’re not suggesting that you outsource your most important work to a team of analysts in a distant land.

After all, there’s a new generation of advanced, self-service, analytics tools that promise to help business and data analysts discover the same keen insights in short order.

Alteryx, which Gartner calls a Visionary in its most recent Advanced Analytics report, provides a data blending and analytics platform that helps end users glean important, actionable insights without the help of a PhD or even a programmer.

Why Hortonworks' Hadoop Pitch May Be Perfect

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Hortonworks business strategy certainly has its naysayers. They claim the venture capital backed company won’t be able to generate the kind of revenues Wall Street investors expect without selling proprietary software that compliments or extends open source Apache Hadoop or any other open source software, for that matter.

This sort of talk falls on deaf ears at Hortonworks.

“Our strategy is to build out (Hadoop and Hortonworks Data Platform aka HDP) in open source so that it resonates and deeply increases value for our partners, our customers and for us,“ said Shaun Connolly, vice president of Corporate Strategy at Hortonworks.

IBM and Fluid Take Watson's Big Data Smarts Shopping

Michael Rhodin  IBM Watson Group with Fluid Expert Shopper  app and  Brooke Aguilar VP Global Business Development Fluid.jpgFor those whose only association with IBM's Watson is its $1 million win on Jeopardy, that could be about to change. IBM announced Tuesday that it will partner with digital retail developer Fluid to turn Watson into ... a personal shopper.

Unfortunately you won't see Watson trying on lipstick in the aisles of your local shopping mall any time soon, but Watson will power Fluid's shopping advisor to offer personalized shopping tips.

Q2 Planning: Top Digital Marketing, Social Business Conferences & Events (23-Apr-14)

Our industry event planner gives you the heads-up on what key industry events are coming around the corner. If we've missed something, don't hesitate to add your event to the list. (You can also view the full calendar here.)

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Future Talk: Blab Updates Tool to Predict Online Conversations

2014-21-April-tomorrow.jpgPredicting the future is no longer limited to seers, mothers and the US National Security Agency (NSA). Now anyone — or any company — can forecast what people will be talking about tomorrow, according to a Seattle-based start-up that specializes in "predictive social intelligence."

The company, which released the second iteration of its product today, doesn't rely on magical premonitions, intuition or manipulations. Instead, Blab applies "proprietary technology and big data processing to contextualize and predict tomorrow’s online conversations today."

It's sort of like having a crystal ball, only with less worry about shattered glass. Or something like that.

Your Crib Sheet for Microsoft's World of Data

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When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his data team took the stage in San Francisco on Wednesday to talk about the company’s strategy, they used a few terms that are not yet in the vernacular. But they soon will be.

And while you’re certainly welcome to figure out what they are and, more importantly, what they mean once you hear them, we figure that, at least some of readers, will want to be among the first to use them.

Allegiance Wants to 'Change the DNA' of Customer Experience

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It isn't always pleasant to acknowledge the negative. But the data didn't lie — and HireVue reports it revealed a story of customer dissatisfaction. 

Porter Williams, director operations and client services at HireVue, a 150-employee human resources technology provider, told CMSWire a quarterly survey showed a high level of discontent among customers migrating from the company's old platform to a new one.

“This set of unhappy customers represented 20 percent of our customer base,” Williams said. “And most were up for renewal. A huge percentage of our customer base might have defected if we had been oblivious to their concerns.”

Instead, it addressed them — with the help of customer data insights from the Allegiance Software customer experience platform. It’s one reason South Jordan, Utah-based Allegiance has been able to increase its workforce 50 percent the past couple of years to 115.

Why Microsoft's Reign Will Continue

Leave it to Box CEO and chief Microsoft critic Aaron Levie to spread the word, check out his tweet yesterday:

Obviously Levie was tuned into the same Microsoft Customer data event as we were, and we agree with his conclusion -- Microsoft has an impressive (data) play.

Q2 Planning: Top Digital Marketing, Social Business Conferences & Events (16-Apr-14)

Our industry event planner gives you the heads-up on what key industry events are coming around the corner. If we've missed something, don't hesitate to add your event to the list. (You can also view the full calendar here.)

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Manage Ad Hoc Analytics Requests Before They Bog You Down

Five Ways to Decrease Ad Hoc Analytics RequestsIn my first job as a web analyst in the late ‘90s, I worked in an IT department of a large telecommunications company. The analytics team consisted of me and another person who was part time. We worked out a pretty good process of providing standardized reporting to about 40 marketers, content editors and executives on a monthly basis.

This system would work great until our manager would stop by one of our cubes with a time-consuming, ad hoc request that would throw off our timing and perfectly tuned schedule.  The requests weren't necessarily difficult -- like running a geolocation visit report based on a specific date range -- they just came at inopportune times and would throw our schedule off. We called these random requests “drive bys.”

Gartner's 10 Technologies That Make Government Smarter

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You may think it's an oxymoron, but Gartner says it is possible to have a smart government. The temptation to be facetious is pretty strong here, but after initial skepticism, we found that what Gartner was talking about is 10 different technologies that can make government more efficient.

Smart governments, Gartner says, are governments that integrate information, communication and operational technologies across multiple domains, process areas and jurisdictions to generate “sustainable public value.”

By using these emerging technologies, which were identified at the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Dubai, the taxpayers should get some bigger bangs for their bucks.

Finding Revenue in the Marketing Automation Minefield

Technology without the right strategy just means we do more of the wrong things faster.

That's what Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, has learned working closely with chief marketing officers.

"Software has the potential to create and drive revenue when it’s attached to the right strategy," Petouhoff told CMSWire shortly after she and Constellation released this month "Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization." (Snapshot).

Marketers can navigate through the minefields of data and software, Petouhoff said, by enlisting the help of tech-savvy colleagues, keeping a close eye on competitors and by managing the omnichannel world by knowing your customers' preferences.

Dream On Salesforce, SAP Prez Unimpressed by Your Threats

Dream On Salesforce, SAP Prez Unimpressed by Your ThreatsSAP is too classy to laugh at Salesforce president Keith Block’s pretentious remarks, as he runs from city to city saying things like “You’re going down SAP.”

“It's great that Salesforce.com has aspirations to be bigger than SAP,” said Steve Lucas, president, SAP Platform Solutions. “But ultimately we don't care what competitors think, we only care about what our customers and partners think and how to make them successful.”

“If we stick to that,” added Lucas, “we will win.” 

MapR Ups Its Hadoop Game with Databricks' Spark

For now, MapR seems to be sitting on the sidelines of the “My Hadoop distro is better than yours” game, and as Jack Norris, the company’s CMO puts it, “we’re concentrating on doing what’s best for our customers.” (Who wouldn’t say something similar?)

It’s with that in mind that they announced today the addition of the Apache Spark stack to their distribution. Norris says Spark will add speed, programming ease and real time processing abilities to their current offering. 

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