May 21, 2014

Understanding the Current Trends in Big Data Marketing

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Guest post by Mike Franko, Regional Sales Director at Cirro.

I was not expecting to find what I did.

Everyone said the big data space would be fun. They said, “it’s a hot topic! Companies of every size, shape, and color are all in.”

All in was right. Every technology company new and old has tried to find a story in big data, and that’s generated a ton of marketing noise. I don’t have an ounce of envy for current technology buyers. Even with the wealth of information found on the web, the noise is blaring. The market has become incredibly skilled at creating stories that point to a certain vendor, and make that direction seem like the best and brightest. Let me give some examples.

At last count there are approximately 139 companies saying very similar things. Yet are they the same?


Let me break this down and provide three directions, or main story lines being put forward by these companies.

1. “Put EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING in here!”

The strategy here is to just put all your data in one place and have it be the single source of truth. The data warehousing community and the Hadoop vendors will make sure you persist (or store) your data here. The message they are blasting loud and clear is “this is the only way to run analytics and all other ways will come up short!”

This is not a bad strategy, but a costly one. Depending on the myriad of options and the challenges that come with learning new technologies, it can get expensive. This is especially true, if the cost for education needs to run across the entire IT department.

2. The misnomer of NoSQL

We have come full circle in the database world. We had very primitive multi-value/legacy storage engines when we first started storing data in databases. We then said, “no relational is where it’s at!” This started in the 80s, and is still going strong today. So here we have these multi-value structures coming back to the forefront, but everyone thinks they are new and unfortunately relate to them as big data technologies.

Databases are like tools and the cool thing is that you can choose the right tool to support the right application. So are some database platforms going to scale better than others? Sure, but the main point is to be able to choose the best tool for the job, much like choosing the right programming language for the app itself. Oh and let me point out that NoSQL just simply means not only SQL. It doesn’t mean that SQL is no longer involved. Old database technologies that couldn’t function due to lack of processing power are once again becoming relevant and useful.

3. “Centralize and Move ALL the data to one place and PROCESS it!”

Here you have all these vendors saying that you can analyze all this big data. All you need to do is move it to one place and process it to get your results. A recent poll provided by James Higginbotham at revealed the following:

Every 60 seconds:

  • 98,000 tweets are created on Twitter
  • 695,000 status updates are generated on Facebook
  • 11 million instant messages are sent
  • 698,445 Google searches are conducted
  • 168 million emails are sent
  • 1,820 TB of data is created
  • 217 new mobile web users added

If you move all this data to one point and process it for analytics you better come with the iron to handle it. Perhaps this is not an issue for companies that throw hardware at performance issues. (I have actually met a few like this and I wonder how they get away it.) But unless you are willing to swallow the huge financial and technical costs that go along with moving huge amounts of data, the idea of “centralizing it” becomes a cost too big to bear. Ingesting the amount of data we are seeing is not only inefficient, but only works as a Band-Aid. It’s a good enough solution, but one that I argue cannot sustain the V’s: volume, variety, velocity, veracity, and I will add value as well.

What does this all mean? Why categorize it this way?

When these strategies are broken down to their simplest form, only then can you sift through what is available and turn down the marketing noise to better examine what will work best for your unique goals and arrangement. These challenges are not getting smaller or quieter. But, the more aware a buyer can be to the product behind the noise, the better chance they will avoid the ringing in their ears that comes from attending an overly-loud concert. Or in this case, loud vendors screaming for attention.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

photo credit: Rosa Menkman via photopin cc