eBook: The Big Data Transformation

Understanding Why Change Is Actually Good for Your Business

Author: Alice LaPlante

CHAPTER 1 Introduction

We are in the age of data. Recorded data is doubling in size every two years, and by 2020 we will have captured as many digital bits as there are stars in the universe, reaching a staggering 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes. Included in these figures is the business data generated by enterprise applications as well as the human data gen‐ erated by social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Big Data: A Brief Primer Gartner’s description of big data—which focuses on the “three Vs”: volume, velocity, and variety—has become commonplace. Big data has all of these characteristics. There’s a lot of it, it moves swiftly, and it comes from a diverse range of sources. A more pragmatic definition is this: you know you have big data when you possess diverse datasets from multiple sources that are too large to cost-effectively manage and analyze within a reasonable timeframe when using your traditional IT infrastructures. This data can include structured data as found in relational databases as well as unstructured data such as documents, audio, and video. IDG estimates that big data will drive the transformation of IT through 2025. Key decision-makers at enterprises understand this. Eighty percent of enterprises have initiated big data–driven projects as top strategic priorities. And these projects are happening across virtually all industries. Table 1-1 lists just a few examples.

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