Firms caught off-guard by boom in Big Data, Oracle says

12 Jan 2012

Firms are underestimating the Big Data revolution, especially when it involves taking a lot of little bits of information from weblogs, smartphones and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and making sense of it all, Oracle has said.

Research released yesterday from Oracle reveals that many businesses appear to have been caught off guard by the boom in ‘Big Data’, which is driven by such factors as increased interaction between consumers and brands via mobile devices, a surge in M2M communications and organisations creating ever greater levels of information within their own processes.

Businesses are reacting to this situation with a short-term increase in outsourced data centre and cloud service use, while planning longer term to build their own in-house data centre facilities.

There is also evidence that the boardroom is paying closer attention to data matters at many organisations, suggesting data within the business is being recognised as having an inherent high value.

“The characteristic big data is typically high volume and high velocity but of low individual value and the way you value this is the variety of data when it is brought together to be analysed it is informative, but these bits on their own don’t make much sense and that’s where the confusion lies,” explained John Caulfield, solutions director at Oracle.

“Simply put, Big Data means a lot of data. It could be something of obvious value, like a sales order in an enterprise management system or a weblog of a search for a music book that on its own is of little value. But bring all this data together from web logs to social media, blogs and tweets, and there is opportunity there to derive significant value and be able to predict, analyse and forecast what people will be buying any given weekend, for example.”

Next-generation data centre index

Sustainability is also back on the agenda for 2012 as businesses react either out of a need for a demonstrable green policy for governance reasons, or to reduce spiralling energy bills related to their IT use.

In a direct Cycle 1 (C1) to Cycle 2 (C2) comparison, the overall Sustainability Index has risen from being lowest to joint top among the sub-indices.

The research found:

  • The proportion of respondents with in-house-only data centres is down from 60pc (C1) to 44pc (C2).
  • The proportion of businesses using some external data centres has risen from 40pc (C1) to 56pc (C2). 1 See “Notes to Editors” for more detail on the figures.
  • Only 8pc of respondents (compared to 17pc in C1) said they would not need a new data centre facility in the foreseeable future.
  • 38pc of respondents see a need for a new data centre facility within two years (up from 27pc in C1)

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years