Big data is a buzzword, no question. Given that it is incumbent on practitioners – in particular architects – to tie the new patterns available in a “big data” enabled infrastructure to practical business benefits.
While there are a variety of business benefits that are enabled by big data infrastructure the single most tangible is Agile Analytics (also known as self service BI and data discovery and exploration). Here’s why:
1) Your business users never wanted reports.
What they really wanted was to be able to leverage data to answer questions. Traditional BI infrastructure did that well, provided you knew what questions you wanted answered in advance.
The problem is, you don’t. The world moves too fast to create a set of KPIs and instrument your business by those alone for 10 years.
2) Data Driven decision making requires empowered business users.
Business users must be empowered to use the the data directly – without intermediation by technical staff – in order to realize the benefit of data driven decision making.
This isn’t to say the technical staff doesn’t have a role – they do. They provide the platform and advanced support enabling business users to use data directly.
3) The prepared data can only answer known questions.
Business users need to follow the data to the important insights. They have the business knowledge to derive insights that matter, but they can only base those insights in data if they are empowered to explore in the data to follow the information to the value.
This means all the data – from the raw data, through each transformation or aggregation to the KPIs and rolled up analytics.
Big data infrastructure – properly deployed and governed – can provide a platform which solves the key problems preventing business users from engaging directly with the data and discovering valuable insights.