Big Data & Analytics. There is a fair amount of confusion in the industry relating these 2 terms. Many a times, these are used in the same breath and recently have come to almost synonymise each other.
Let’s call it out – Big data is not analytics. They are not even close. They are 2 different things. You can do analytics without having big data and you can have big data without an iota of analytics on it. Big Data is the technology stack of managing large amount of data, whereas analytics is gleaning insights from data. Big data and analytics can be complementary, but certainly not the same thing.
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In my mind, there are couple of things that happened. Firstly, early proponents of Big Data rode on the popularity of analytics to create almost an apocalyptic urgency towards big data. I call it a cherry on pudding scenario. It was made to appear that analytics is a cherry sitting on top of the pudding of Big data. One needs to consume the pudding before reaching the cherry. Ideally, selling the pudding without the cherry would have made it unattractive… read non glamorous.
Secondly, this has led to a depreciation of focus in end consumers’ minds. Most enterprises today that still have to adopt analytics consider big data as a first step towards analytics, when it not necessarily have to be that way. Analytics can still be done on existing data, but this confusion has led many take a step back from analytics adoption due to perception of costly and lengthy implementation of big data.
I believe that big data is not a hype as many would suggest, and it is going to stay and even prosper. It solves a real problem i.e. the storage and retrieval of large amount of data with existing technologies is highly inefficient. But it’s time that big data should be seen separate from analytics.
In the long run, vendors and service providers that offer clearly delineated value to the customers are the ones that are going to win. Enterprises today look for quick, simple and cost effective solutions; an allure through the garb of jargons will only make them lose focus.