Big data: all you need to know

Summary:Big data's the big buzz word of 2012. So what's behind the hype?

Steps to big data


1. What is big data?

2. Real trend or just hype?

3. How can we harness big data?

4. What are the pitfalls?

5. Steps to big data

Before you go down the path of big data, it's important to be prepared and approach an implementation in an organised manner, following these steps.

  1. What do you wish you knew? This is where you decide what you want to find out from big data that you can't get from your current systems. If the answer is nothing, then perhaps big data isn't the right thing for you

  2. What are your data assets? Can you cross reference this data to produce insights? Is it possible to build new data products on top of your assets? If not, what do you need to implement to be able to do so?

  3. Once you know this, it's time to prioritise. Select the potentially most valuable opportunity for using big-data techniques and technology, and prepare a business case for a proof of concept, keeping in mind the skill sets you'll need to do it. You will need to talk to the owners of the data assets to get the full picture

  4. Start the proof of concept, and make sure that there's a clear end point, so that you can evaluate what the proof of concept has achieved. This might be the time to give the owner of the data assets to take responsibility for the project

  5. Once your proof of concept has been completed, evaluate whether it worked. Are you getting real insights delivered? Is the work that went in to the concept bearing fruit? Could it be extended to other parts of the organisation? Is there other data that could be included? This will help you to discover whether to expand your implementation or revamp it.

So what are you waiting for? It's time to think big.

Topics: Big Data, Australia, TechLines


Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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