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Report: CIOs & Big Data


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Infochimps Survey: What IT Teams Want CIOs to Know About Big Data - Learn the top items that IT team members would like their CIOs to understand concerning their Big Data projects.

The report - CIOs & Big Data: What Your IT Team Wants You to Know - is based on a survey of more than 300 IT department employees, 58% of whom are currently engaged in Big Data projects, and aims to identify pitfalls that implementation teams encounter, and could avoid, if top management had a more complete view.

Published in: Technology

Report: CIOs & Big Data

  1. 1. CIOS & BIG DATAWhat Your IT Team Wants You to Know #1 Enterprise Big Data Cloud
  2. 2. ForewordToday enterprises face an increasingly competitive Together, we recieved survey responses from overand erratic global business environment, and 300 IT department staffers – 58% of whom haveBig Data has become more than just another IT current Big Data projects underway – on whatproject — it’s truly a finger on the pulse of the they most wanted their CIOs to know about thebusiness. To say that in 2013 Big Data is “mission process of implementing Big Data projects.critical” is to put it mildly — organizations thatignore the insights that Big Data can deliver are The insight we gleaned reveals much about bothflying blind. So, it is all the more disconcerting that enterprise technology and enterprise culture. In order for companies to succeed in this era of Big55%of Big Data projects don’t get completed, Data, executives will need to rethink long-held notions of how multiple departments should function together. In the past “breaking downand many others fall short of their objectives. silos” was a nice mantra. Now, it is an imperative. Additionally, CIOs and other enterprise executivesWhile there may be many reasons for this, may find it necessary to educate their organizationsundoubtedly one of the biggest factors is lack on the advantages of new Big Data applicationsof communication between top managers, who and processes that will give them better customerprovide the overall project vision, and those insights, make their jobs infinitely easier and givecharged with actually implementing it. Far too their departments the elasticity needed to meetfrequently the opinions of the IT staff doing virtually any business need in real-time.the heavy lifting necessary to develop a BigData project are taken as an afterthought, and We hope this report will serve not only asconsequently considered only when projects veer a source of insight for those responsible foroff-course. architecting Big Data initiatives, but also as a reminder to seek the invaluable perspectiveGiven the stakes, it’s imperative that CIOs have of IT staff as early as possible in the process ofa 360 degree view of what such an initiative will developing technology projects.involve before it leaves the drawing board. In orderto provide a complete picture, we partnered -- Jim Kaskade, CEO, Infochimpswith SSWUG.ORG, one of the largest enterprisetechnology-focused, community-driven sites anda source for answers to IT-related questionsand professional growth for more than 570,000members.
  3. 3. About the ResearchInfochimps and SSWUG.ORG queried more than It may also be worth noting that 85 percent of300 IT department employees for this report in respondents described their data footprint as beingfall of 2012, 58% of whom identify themselves as larger than one terabyte, and 7 percent of thosecurrently being involved in big data initiatives. Big described it as being larger than one petabyte,Data implementation is a concern for companies indicating the tremendous scope and variety ofof all sizes, and we sought the opinions of people organizations considering Big Data initiatives.from organizations ranging from small business toenterprise level. Of those surveyed, For the purposes of this report and in order to most accurately represent well-informed29%come from companies with more than viewpoints, the statistics cited are based on the responses of those participants who are currently involved in Big Data initiatives. A breakdown of the1000 employees, opinions of the complete respondent pool may be provided upon request. However, given that a key27%are from companies with between objective of this report is to inform CIOs regarding potential pitfalls to successfully implementing Big Data projects, we feel that the survey results, as101-1000 employees, presented, offer the most valuable and strategic insights.45%identify their companies as having100 or fewer employees.In order to hone in on insight from those primarilyresponsible for implementation, the sample isweighted toward staff-level positions. 86 percentof respondents identify themselves as eitherdirectors, managers, or systems administrators/developers, while the remaining 14 percent identifythemselves as either VP/SVP or as belonging to theC-suite.
  4. 4. Executive SummaryBig Data may indeed be a buzzword for 2013, technologies, and not enough time actually usingbut if so it’s a buzzword with inestimable impact them to create business value. Interestingly, 61% ofon the organization. At its core, the concept respondents said managed, hosted platforms are aof Big Data is that of supporting executive viable solution, indicating a willingness to outsourcedecision-making with the most accurate, current, the back-end and focus on delivering value throughcomprehensive and comprehensible presentation application.of all information available regarding a business.Overwhelmingly, respondents indicated that their As a relatively new development, it may comecompanies are taking Big Data seriously as no surprise that participants list education and the ability to understand the platforms as81%list “Big Data/Advanced Analytics Projects” in their top challenges on Big Data projects. The report findings also reflect a general talent gap when it comes to data analysis expertise, which companiesTop 5 2013 IT priorities. must address before embarking on new projects. “Lack of Business Context Around the Data”The survey’s finding that IT staff members prefer (51%) and “Lack of Expertise to Connect theto focus on the application layer rather than on Dots” (51%) are identified as the top reasons Biginfrastructure may provide a strong indication Data projects fail. On a similar note, respondentsas to where CIOs ought to be directing their say Data Scientists/Analysts and Business Usersinvestments. When asked about top IT priorities are more impactful to the bottom line than theoutside of Big Data, respondents ranked mobile, C-Suite, indicating once again that those who canwebsite, security and dashboarding notably above derive business value from data are in demand.infrastructure-related options. These responsesare aligned with a general preference for managing In general, it appears that business goals of Bigthe front-end over the back-end, with participants Data projects are in sync with a general trendreporting that processing (43%), analyzing (41%) toward elasticity and business agility. Respondentsand ongoing management (42%) of Big Data pose listed the ability to scale, ease of management,significant difficulties — companies may consider flexible architecture and speed to deployment/outsourcing these functions to keep staff focused security as the top four most critical requirementson impacting the bottom line. for Big Data platforms.Furthermore, teams want to be actively involvedin selecting resources and determining how they’repieced together, but not necessarily in managingand maintaining them. 66% respondents preferto build in-house, as Big Data represents a hugeprofessional opportunity — but in reality they’reoften forced to spend too much time fighting
  5. 5. Executive SummaryMuch of what we found speaks to the importance Finally, while much of today’s Big Data dialogueof creating a business culture that supports Big centers on Hadoop, it’s worth noting thatData. For example, participants rated “Gathering respondents rated Batch (53 %) and Real-timeData from Siloed Sources” as their “Most (49%) data processing as nearly equally importantSignificant” Big Data challenge. Breaking down components of business decision-making. Clearly,barriers to support a data unification initiative as a batch-oriented system Hadoop isn’t enough.can require executive ‘air cover,’ and a lot ofsocializing. Also, having the patience to define very In general, we find that Big Data projects oftenspecific project parameters also appears to be of fall short or take longer than planned due toparamount importance, with challenges related to education, social issues, and integration work. While IT staff may be fully aware58%of respondents listing “Inaccurate Scope” as the top of the obstacles to Big Data success, and the commitment a project requires, they may be less aware of options to make their jobs easier, such asreason IT projects fail. partnering with an outside vendor that can help speed time to business value.As a best practice, it is advisable to start with asingle key business use case with a clearly statedobjective that impacts the business.If you wanted your CIO to know one thing.. “To benefit fully from Big Data, you must look beyond the limitation of what you think can be extracted from the data available and instead think about and ask for what you wish you could derive/learn/extract from the data.” -- Survey Participant
  6. 6. CIOS & BIG DATA : what your it team wants you to knowIn general, we found that companies are taking Big For CIOs, this may provide a guide for 2013Data seriously in 2013, ranking it high on the list of investment strategy. However, such a strategyIT priorities. In fact, would not be based solely on work preferences. Responses also indicate that many back-end81%of companies have Big Data/Advanced Analytics functions are the very things that devour the most staff time — within Big Data projects, processing (43%), analyzing (41%) and ongoing managementProjects in their Top 5 2013 IT priorities. (42%) of the data pose significant difficulties for the IT team.Weighing the current business environment —which is growing more competitive, global anderratic by the moment — against the real-time,predictive insight of a well-run Big Data initiative,the remaining 19 percent ought to be askingthemselves why they’re not more heavily investedin Big Data. If companies want to keep their IT staff focused onEmphasizing Application Development leveraging Big Data to impact the bottom line, theyOver Infrastructure Maintenance should consider outsourcing these functions.The survey showed that while IT staff do not wantto divorce themselves from having a say in howthe various components of the stack are chosen 66% of respondents prefer to build in-house,and assembled, they would prefer to focus onthe application. Top priorities other than Big Data which should not be surprising, as Big Datafor IT staff include mobile, website, security and represents a tremendous opportunity for ITdashboarding, all of which reside in the application staff to build their talents and resumes. To spurlayer, not in the infrastructure. innovation, constantly challenging them with career-advancing projects and technologies and empowering them with education is clearly a winning management strategy. However, consider that this finding may be more indicative of a desire to be actively involved in selecting resources, tools and solutions and determining how they’re pieced together, rather than in managing and maintaining them. Teams are often forced to spend too much time fighting
  7. 7. CIOS & BIG DATA : what your it team wants you to knowtechnologies and not enough time actually using As Big Data is a relatively new focus for most ITthem to create business value. In short, those departments and companies in general, it comeswho could be answering the important questions as no surprise that most IT staff are feeling a bitand producing the greatest insights are stuck squeezed when it comes to fully grasping thewrestling with Hadoop clusters and other Big Data technologies. Respondents listed “Finding Talent”technologies. Relegating the best and brightest to and “Finding the Right Tools” as top “Significant”custodial functions that could easily be outsourced challenges they face when working with Big Data.may very well cause them to leave in pursuit ofmore interesting opportunities. In the midst ofan enterprise talent shortage, few companies canafford such a brain drain.In light of this, CIOs may take comfort that 80% 76%61%of respondents agreed that managed, hosted finding the finding theplatforms are a viable solution. talent right toolsIn other words, there may be solid staff support On a related note, other findings are indicative offor outsourcing the back-end to a managed, hosted a general data analysis talent gap, which companiessolution, simplifying the process so the IT team can need to address before Bid Data projects canfocus on what’s important — the application that succeed. Participants cite “Lack of Businessdelivers business value. Context Around the Data” (51%) and “Lack of Expertise to Connect the Dots” (51%) as the topA Need to Educate on the Platforms and a reasons advanced analytics projects fail.General Lack of Big Data Expertise Respondents also say that data scientists, dataIf you wanted your CIO to know one thing.. analysts and business users are more impactful to the bottom line than the C-Suite, once again illustrating the value that they place on those “Understanding the hidden trends in all who can derive actionable business insight from the data can help us better understand” data. Given that such skill sets are in short supply, -- Survey Participant companies may look to bridge this talent gap by offering training to existing staff as well as using the tools that simplify the data analysis process, except turning current staff into data scientists.
  8. 8. CIOS & BIG DATA : what your it team wants you to knowIdentifying Exactly What You Want According to survey participants, the four MostBig Data to Do for Your Organization Critical Requirements for Big Data platforms are:When it comes Big Data, it’s critical that • Ability to Scale - as data grows, architecturecompanies clearly define what they want from should keep upthe project before moving forward — 58% of • Ease of Management - it should berespondents listed “Inaccurate Scope” as the top straightforward to maintainreason IT projects fail. While the promise of what • Flexible Architecture - it should be adaptablecan be done with Big Data may seem boundless, to the environment and dataimplementing a system with the idea that it will • Speed to Deployment - fast time to businessmeet the entire organization’s needs is most likely a valuerecipe for failure. Rather, start with a very narrowscope focused on one key business use case. Once Hadoop Isn’t Enoughon course to achieving objectives with this initialuse case, expand to the next, building and iterating If you wanted your CIO to know one thing..your system over time. “The need for a combination of real-time “Talk to your Sys Admins about your big and batch analysis frameworks. data project. The biggest Discussions tend to emphasize one over disconnect is between the other, instead of solving both the Sys Admin and the problems with a single framework. C-Level Executive.” Priorities tend to be around real-time -- Joe Kelly access, with data warehousing solutions COO, Infochimps dropped.” -- Survey ParticipantAdditionally, companies need to have a firm ideaof what they want their Big Data platform to look Hadoop may be the most frequently citedlike, and how it should perform. component in the era of Big Data, but the survey makes it clear that, on its own, it is not sufficient to offer businesses truly competitive insight. Respondents rated Batch (53 %) and Real-time (49%) data processing as nearly equally important components of business decision-making
  9. 9. CIOS & BIG DATA : what your it team wants you to knowBreak Down Silos and the Culture Respondents listed “Budgets for Big Data Projects,”that Produces Them (65%) “Time to Work on the Project (75%),” and “Finding the Right Tools (76%)” as “Significant”Participant responses shed light not only on challenges they face when working with Big Data.technical challenges, but also a corporate culturethat stands in the way of Big Data project success Big Data is complex, and projects often takeby siloing data into the applications of various longer than planned due to education demandsdepartments which rarely communicate with each and challenges related to new technologies,other. If “breaking down business silos” has been corporate culture and integration. However if ITa mantra in companies for a while now, perhaps staff has the budget, time and tools to get the jobit hasn’t been repeated enough — respondents done right, enterprises can accompish their goals.rate “Gathering Data from Siloed Sources” as their Additionally, keep in mind that while IT staff maymost significant Big Data challenge. be fully aware of the commitment and resources a Big Data project requires, they may be less aware “In our experience, of options to make their jobs easier. Partnering breaking down barriers to with an outside vendor can speed implementation support a data unification and accelerate time to business value. Exposing initiative can require the team to successful Big Data technologies and executive ‘air cover,’ and a processes, while offering the expert guidance to lot of socializing.” turn IT staff into Big Data experts, is a key strategy -- Jim Kaskade CIOs should consider for their Big Data products. CEO, InfochimpsIf you wanted your CIO to know one thing.. About Infochimps Infochimps was founded by data scientists and “Time and resource requirements”... “It cloud computing experts with the belief that by effectively leveraging Big Data, enterprises make takes time to interact with data”...“the better decisions. The company’s solutions make time it takes to normalize data so that it it faster, easier and far less complex to build and can be analyzed properly”... “That it has manage Big Data projects and quickly deliver inertia, and structural changes dont actionable insights. With the Infochimps Enterprise happen quickly”...“time to put in place”... Cloud, companies benefit from the fastest way “time to develop”... “Time and effort to deploy Big Data environments in public, virtual required”... “This will take more time not private and private clouds. Infochimps is a privately held, venture-backed company with offices in more people”... “Time”... “nothing is fast” Austin, TX and the Silicon Valley.
  10. 10. Contact UsInfochimps, Inc1214 W 6th St. Suite 202Austin, TX 787031-855-DATA-FUN (1-855-328-2386)www.infochimps.cominfo@infochimps.comTwitter: @infochimpsSchedule a freedemo of InfochimpsEnterprise Cloud forBig DataGet a demo with of the leadingsolution for your enterprise big dataproject. The Infochimps EnterpriseCloud for Big Data solution makesit faster, easier and far less complexfor businesses to build and manageBig Data projects and quicklydeliver actionable insights. Withthe Infochimps Enterprise Cloud,companies benefit from the fastestway to deploy Big Data environmentsin public, virtual private and© 2013 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved.All trademarks are the property of theirrespective owners. Infomation is subject tochange without notice.