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Most popular Data Mill columns in 2014

Analytics 3.0, the rise of the chief data officer and Hadoop 2.0 were the topics readers gravitated to in 2014: The Data Mill reports.

Big data was a big deal in 2014, but is the trend starting to sour? In August, Gartner Inc. published its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, which showed that big data has crested the peak of inflated expectations and is sliding into the trough of disillusionment. What does that mean in non-Gartnerese? Businesses are experiencing the trials and tribulations that underscore all of the exciting big data promises, and it's causing interest in the technology to wane.

The good news? Hitting the peak and descending into the trough are two signs the technology trend is maturing. While the trough could be a trial by fire for vendors, the trend, itself, is probably not going anywhere, according to experts. "I don't think there's any company that believes this is some sort of phenomenon that's going to die down -- that it's just some buzzword," Mike Gualtieri, analyst at Forrester Research Inc., said to SearchCIO recently. "This is a sustainable trend because there is so much value in the data. I think companies know that and now they're beginning to understand what they have to do to get that value out of it."

This week's Data Mill, a weekly column devoted to all things data, reflects a little bit more on the big data conversation in 2014. We've curated the top-five most read installments and, while the results aren't scientifically sound, it's still interesting to note that of the 48 columns for the year, SearchCIO readers were most drawn to those covering Hadoop advancements, sophisticated analytics and emerging titles such as the chief data officer. Here is the top-five countdown for the most popular Data Mill columns of 2014:

5. Chief digital officer vs. chief data officer: Who will win the day?

For some businesses, CDO is an acronym for chief digital officer, the builder of customer-facing digital products; for others, CDO stands for chief data officer, the overseer of data governance, data quality and data management. But who is in a better position to become the sole owner of that title? Jill Dyche, vice president of best practices at SAS Institute Inc., has an answer.

4. Analytics 3.0: The old guard masters how to build data products

This column originally appeared in December 2013; still, it was one of 2014's best-read Data Mills. The term belongs to Tom Davenport, president's chair and distinguished professor of information technology and management at Babson College and co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics. Analytics 3.0 pushes data analysis beyond traditional business intelligence as well as beyond the big data analytics tools developed by online-only companies. In Analytics 3.0, the playing field is leveled, with even legacy companies like General Electric and the United Parcel Service building data products for customers.

3. Chief digital officers are a blessing and a curse for CIOs

Chief digital officers are a double-edged sword for CIOs. They know their way around technology and even coding languages, but, as one writer quoted in this Data Mill column pointed out, creating a digital business requires innovation, experimentation and creative thinking to grow the business -- the very stuff that was supposed to be the best part of a CIO's job.

2. Machine learning, embedded analytics and big data march ahead in 2014

The International Institute for Analytics released a series of predictions for 2014 that focused on machine learning, data scientists and moving beyond the big data hype. The predictions provide a look back at the mindset of faculty members such as Dell's Sanjeev Kumar and Teradata's Bill Franks.

1. Hadoop 2.0's deep impact on big data and big data technologies

This story hit a nerve with readers, racking up the page views to be the most-read Data Mill of the year. Merv Adrian and Nick Heudecker, two Gartner analysts, gave an update of the Apache Hadoop technology, a distributed computing framework deeply tied to the big data trend. Adrian also provided an at-a-glance reference to some of the Hadoop distributors out there and how they differ from each other -- something businesses still find confusing today.

Fan Favorite: Ten big data case studies in a nutshell

Although published in October 2013, this column was well read by readers this year. In fact, it was the top trafficked item across the SearchCIO site in 2014. The big data examples were taken from a 2013 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo session given by Doug Laney, a Gartner analyst. A common question from readers: Where can I access all 55 examples Laney presented during his presentation? The answer: The session can be streamed via Gartner's events on-demand site.

Welcome to The Data Mill, a weekly column devoted to all things data. Heard something newsy (or gossipy)? Email me or find me on Twitter at @TT_Nicole.

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Previously on The Data Mill

A look at Booz Allen's innovation blueprint

Ten predictions from the International Institute for Analytics

What is your company's 'innovation identity?'

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What's on your big data agenda for 2015?
Our agenda is mostly about streamlining operations and preparing for the future. The marketplace is changing so rapidly right now that we're not looking at a long-term setup - instead, we want to keep an eye on where things are going and prepare to take advantage of that. I expect we'll be making heavy use of the cloud for at least the next two or three years - possibly even longer, depending on the way things develop.