Actian: 'Big Data 2.0' analytics provides predictive strategies

The combination of Big Data and predictive analytics will create a new type of agile business but the business processes need to change.

Actian's roundtable discussion on 'Big Data 2.0'


I attended the Actian’s Big Data roundtable earlier this week. I was thrilled to be sitting next to Terry Garnett (far left) from Garnett & Helfrich Capital, a very savvy buyout firm that has managed to carve out some great companies from inside larger organizations.

Also at the table: Dave Engberg, CTO of Evernote; Avanish Sahai, VP at Salesforce; Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Group, and analysts from IDC and Cowan. Here are some of my notes:

- Garnett is an investor in Actian, a “Big Data 2.0” firm, that was hosting the dinner. I mentioned that, “2.0” doesn’t work, that it is too dated, too 2006. But it’s an understandable attempt to get beyond the “Big Data” term, which has been in use for nearly three decades.

I’ve proposed “All Data.” An All Data enterprise is a business that analyzes more than just the 10% or so of its data, as most businesses do, according to Roman Stanek, CEO of GoodData.

- There was talk about how Big data and the cloud will require new business processes. They will have to be far more agile than the static ones currently used and so far, there are no good tools for such enterprise application development. 

- Today’s data sets are different and include mobile and geo-location data. The way databases are used will have to change to reflect the data that is being tracked so that it can be analysed the right way.

- The enterprise IT sector is due for significant changes in order to take advantage of Big Data tools and applications. It will require new tools for more agile business processes. I pointed put that it will also require management that understands the actions needed, and in some organizations the actions are slow or late in coming. The answer, it seems, is to bypass the slow management layer. 

- There were lots of stories about how some companies are finding interesting connections and are better able to predict demand. One retailer now runs a special algorithm when a big storm is coming. It knows to stock sheetrock and bottled water.

- But I was astounded at some of the common sense connections retailers are finding, according to Actian’s executives. They could just call me up and save time and money. But apparently, companies can’t see the trees for the forest, and need software to help them analyze their datasets.