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The$Big$Data$Mystique:$Analytics$for$Every$Business$
September(2014(

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The$Big$Data$Mystique:$Analytics$for$Every$Business$
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Everyone!has!heard!of!Big!Data.!!Business!analytics!offers!companies!of!all!types!and!sizes!the!opportunity!to!
make!decisions!faster,!get!a!leg!up!on!the!competition!and!even!increase!efficiency!of!their!operations.!!But!
what!are!the!stumbling!blocks!that!users!fear,!and!what!gains!are!they!expecting!by!implementing!advanced!
analytics!into!the!enterprise?!!This!SlashGuide!looks!into!those!questions,!which!were!posed!in!a!Slashdot!
Media!Pulse!poll!on!Big!Data!Analytics!conducted!in!August!2014.!!Respondents!included!more!than!300!
Slashdot!community!members.!!This!resultant!white!paper!provides!a!combination!of!IT!practitioner!and!expert!
insights!gathered!from!that!survey.!

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Roadblocks$to$Implementation$

When!asked!about!roadblocks!to!implementing!analytics,!the!No.!1!response!was!integration!of!all!the!pieces!
involved!to!implement!BI/BA!successfully.!!Not!only!are!businesses!challenged!by!integration!with!existing!
applications,!databases!and!middleware,!they!struggle!with!the!different!parts!!hardware!and!software!!that!
a!Big!Data!project!entails.!

Figure$1:$Which$is$the$biggest$roadblock$to$implementing$analytics?$
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Close!behind!at!27!percent!was!gaining!access!
to! all! the! information! sources! ! internal! and!
external! ! that! feed! into! the! decision>making!
process.!!Often!analytics!projects!rely!on!third>
party! data! sources,! social! media! sentiment!
and! the! exploding! world! of! unstructured! data!
!documents,!presentations,!even!video!!that!
increasingly! contain! content! valuable! to!
business!decision>makers.!!$
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About!a!quarter!of!respondents!!24!percent!!
selected!data!quality!as!their!primary!
roadblock.!!The!old!adage!of!"garbage!in,!
garbage!out"!is!amplified!in!the!world!of!Big!
Data,!where!very!large!amounts!of!data!may!
be!gathered!and!summarized!to!form!the!basis!
of!an!analytics!project.!!For!some!enterprises,!
the!decision!to!undertake!a!Big!Data!analytics!
project!will!have!to!take!a!back!seat!to!a!data>
cleansing!project,!or!the!sourcing!of!reliable!
data!to!feed!the!process.!

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The$Big$Data$Mystique:$Analytics$for$Every$Business$
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The!last!group!at!14!percent!cited!storage!concerns!related!to!analytics!projects.!!With!the!volume,!variety!and!
velocity!of!data!increasing!daily,!the!age!of!petabyte!Big!Data!projects!is!already!here.!!For!some!enterprises,!
storing!that!much!information!!even!for!a!short!amount!of!time!to!collect,!process!and!analyze!the!resultant!
insights!!may!be!a!formidable!and!expensive!proposition.!

Goals$and$Objectives$
It!should!not!be!a!big!surprise!that!the!No.!1!goal!mentioned!for!undertaking!a!Big!Data!project!was!improving!
product!or!service!offerings.!!The!ability!to!gain!competitive!advantage!by!understanding!trends,!buying!
processes!and!customer!base!changes!give!leverage!that!can!mean!the!difference!between!profit!and!loss.!!At!
28!percent,!improving!operational!efficiency!is!tied!in!a!statistical!dead!heat!with!improving!offerings,!which!is!
at!29!percent.!Where!the!latter!aims!to!increase!the!topline!income,!the!former!strives!to!reduce!expenditures!
by!gaining!efficiencies,!ultimately!also!leading!to!a!bigger!bottom!line.!!!!
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Figure$2:$What$is$your$primary$Big$Data$goal?!
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Next,!at!22!percent!was!increasing!customer!
satisfaction.!!Big!Data!projects!can!give!insights!
into!the!customer!base,!even!indicating!
customers!whose!changing!buying!habits!may!
be!the!result!of!a!problem!that!the!company!is!
not!yet!aware!of.!!Utilizing!analytics!to!gain!a!
better!understanding!of!buyers!and!prospects!
alike!can!reap!increased!loyalty!as!a!dividend.!
Finally,!the!last!group!at!21!percent!chose!
smarter!and!faster!pricing!strategies!as!their!
main!Big!Data!benefit.!!These!companies!are!
learning!what!the!airline!industry!has!known!
for!decadesthat!pricing!for!many!
commodities!can!be!flexible!over!time.!With!
Big!Data!tools,!you!can!take!demand!and!
competitive!pressures!into!account!to!develop!
a!pricing!strategy!that!quickly!adapts!to!the!
marketplace.!
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The$Big$Data$Mystique:$Analytics$for$Every$Business$
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Selecting$the$Right$Solution!

What's!most!important!when!choosing!a!business!analytics!solution?!!Respondents!put!two!factors!!total!cost!
of!ownership!(TCO)!and!ease!of!integration!with!other!systems!!at!the!top!of!the!list.!
In!an!age!where!IT!budgets!are!flat!at!best,!it's!critical!to!ensure!you're!getting!the!most!out!of!any!expenditure,!
and!Big!Data!analytics!are!no!exception.!!Respondents!are!looking!past!the!initial!purchase!price!to!take!into!
account!the!hardware,!software,!training,!services!and!people!costs!that!make!up!the!TCO.!!Ease!of!integration!
with!other!systems!is!not!a!surprising!pick!either.!!The!number!of!systems!of!record!and!systems!of!
engagement!that!comprise!today's!IT!infrastructure!for!most!organizations!is!constantly!growing,!thanks!in!
large!part!to!the!application!explosion!brought!on!by!mobile!devices!(there's!an!app!for!that,!too).!!Thus,!
integration!of!Big!Data!analytics!with!this!growing!array!of!enterprise!systems!will!continue!to!be!a!challenge!
for!many.!
Next,!at!24!percent!was!the!time!it!takes!to!deploy!a!working!solution.!!Suppliers!who!have!tools!or!services!
that!can!short>circuit!the!deployment!process!will!certainly!be!well>received!by!that!segment.!Finally,!17!
percent!of!the!respondents!cited!ongoing!support!and!maintenance!costs,!which!is!tied!to!TCO,!as!the!most!
important!factor!when!choosing!their!analytics!solution.!!!
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Figure$3:$What$is$most$important$when$selecting$an$analytics$solution?!

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The$Big$Data$Mystique:$Analytics$for$Every$Business$
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Big$Data$at$Work$

The!final!survey!question!asked!"Which!type!of!analytics!is!most!important!to!your!organization?"!Not!
surprisingly,!the!majority!of!responses!were!prescriptive!or!"reporting!on!the!past"!(Figure!4).!!
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Figure$4:$Which$type$of$analytics$is$most$important$to$your$organization?!

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Traditional!reporting!is!prescriptive!!utilizing!data!on!past!transactions!to!see!what!happened,!and!perhaps!
why.!!Structured!data!in!relational!databases!has!been!summarized,!categorized!and!distilled!to!yield!insights!
into!the!past!month,!quarter!or!year,!but!little!or!no!insight!as!to!what!this!means!for!the!years!ahead.!!For!
most!organizations,!this!is!the!only!type!of!analytics!they!have!ever!used.!
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However,!new!types!of!analytics!are!making!headway!against!the!tried>and>true!prescriptive!reporting.!!No.!2!
on!our!list!with!26!percent!responding!is!predictive!analytics!!those!that!take!aim!at!what!the!future!holds.!!
Will!orange!be!the!new!black!in!2015?!!Predictive!analytics!aims!to!forecast!trends!in!finance,!marketing,!
manufacturing!and!even!fashion.!
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The!rest!of!the!respondents!were!split!nearly!evenly!between!reactive!analytics!!the!"what!if"!number!
crunching!many!of!us!have!done!with!spreadsheets!and!pivot!tables!over!the!years!!refined!to!support!many!
variables!and!factors,!and!finally!adaptive!analytics,!which!seek!to!help!businesses!evolve!in!real!time,!adapting!
to!changing!business,!financial!and!competitive!climates!constantly!to!ensure!optimal!utilization!of!resources!
and!maximizing!profitability.!
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Conclusion!

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There!are!rewards!to!be!reaped!by!business!analytics!throughout!the!enterprise.!!The!deluge!of!data!combined!
with!the!plummeting!price!of!raw!storage!now!enables!analytics!strategies!that!were!inconceivable!just!a!few!
short!years!ago.!!Although!there!were!a!number!of!roadblocks!cited,!enterprises!of!all!sizes!are!finding!ways!to!
sidestep!them!and!achieve!results!that!demonstrate!a!clear!return!on!their!Big!Data!investment.!!!
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To!learn!how!IBM!can!help!make!your!Big!Data!business!analytics!strategy!into!a!reality,!go!
to!www.ibm.com/puredata.!!

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