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Big data to CIOs: Learn to extract value from disruptive technologies

SearchCIO's Harvey Koeppel takes an unflinching look at 10 disruptive technologies and comes up with seven ways in which they change how IT gets done.

Harvey KoeppelHarvey Koeppel

In the first part of this CIO Matters column, Big data is not little data writ large, SearchCIO expert Harvey Koeppel talks about the fallacy of equating big data with more data. Here, he explores how big data is inextricably linked to nine other disruptive technologies and why that linkage profoundly changes how IT gets done.

Understanding the real impact of big data requires additional context from looking at the technologies that have grown and will continue to grow up alongside it. In some cases these technologies are influencing the nature of big data; in some cases these technologies are being influenced by big data; and, in some cases, both are happening. In all cases, unlocking and realizing the true value of big data is inextricably linked to the head-spinning pace of the emergence and growth of the following:

Zen and big data

Taming the bull

It is absolutely critical to consider how big data, in combination with disruptive technologies, can add value to your business.

By now it is hopefully apparent that thinking about big data as a resource in isolation is not much different from listening to the sound of one hand clapping. For those who are less into things metaphysical, perhaps applauding activity with no attention to progress or value would be a more meaningful comparison. In either case, it is absolutely critical to consider how big data, in combination with the types of disruptive technologies described in the chart above, can add value to your business. Then -- and only then -- can meaningful approaches be thought about, designed and delivered. Taking cues from those who have successfully traveled these paths (and lived to tell their tales), here are a few things to consider while you are watching the steam rise from your next cup of joe -- 176 million Google results -- really?

  • The world is becoming increasingly more focused on individuals rather than segments. This trend has a profound impact on creating awareness and delivering products and services everywhere.
  • Things in our environment are becoming increasingly more connected, e.g., our cars, our homes, the power grid, the water system, transportation systems, etc. This trend has a profound impact on creating and delivering new products and services.
  • Data is becoming more and more unstructured and will require new ways of understanding content and ascertaining authenticity and new policies for prudent usage.
  • Mobile devices are more and more connected to more and more sources and are less and less under enterprise control. This trend has a significant impact on how enterprises must validate their users and secure their information.
  • The notion of personal privacy is evolving among individuals from controlled to open. The trend towards increased availability of personal information will enable new insights and opportunities both for the creation of value and for potential abuse. Considerate and considerable thought and the development of policies and procedures to govern the use of personal information are more critical now than ever before.
  • The emergence of new products -- e.g., wearable computing and embedded computing -- combined with the affordability of cloud computing is enabling enterprises and entrepreneurs to create new business ideas and bring new products to market at an unprecedented rate. New business models and new business processes are in greater demand than ever before.
  • The time frame for describing the "old way that we did things" has been steadily shrinking from post-Industrial Revolution dimensions (50 to 100 years) to Web speed (six to 12 months) to "What do you mean, I can't have it tomorrow?" Will "I need it yesterday" soon become our new reality? Enterprises that are heavily reliant on legacy infrastructures and applications will be at a significant competitive disadvantage, if they are not already.

Let me know what you think. Post a comment or drop me a note at Discuss, debate or even argue -- let's continue the conversation.

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Disruptive technolgies are making CIOs' jobs more daunting or more interesting, depending on who you ask. As you pointed out, there are a lot of technologies behind the phrase "big data."

You might be interested in this Q&A with SanDisk CIO Ravi Naik about how big data has impacted SanDisk -

Jeff Rutherford commenting on behalf of IDG and KPMG