With a storage solution in place, companies often consider their cloud computing efforts complete. Operating expenses (OpEx) take the place of capital expenses (CapEx), and authorized users get to access data no matter where they are or what devices they use. But stopping at storage means seeing only the entryway of the cloud computing house; data analysis provides best use of the entire property.
Big Data: A Big Deal
Company IT pros and decision makers have heard the term “big data,” but often underrate its impact. While it’s easy to think of this information explosion as only for enterprise-level companies which generate reams of transactions, connections and sales, every business – no matter its size – generates this kind of data. Every sales call, every purchase, every customer interaction qualifies. And every piece has value.
Unlocking this value, however, isn’t possible if company info just sits on a cloud server. Mining it for useful trends is the next step in marrying cloud storage with function.
Finding the Pattern
A recent IDC survey has the big data market reaching $153.1 million USD in India alone, up from $58.4 million in 2011. The growth of both information volume and its diversity are contributing factors in the market price, but how do businesses tap in?
What’s needed is an analytics solution, one designed to crawl through existing data and look for patterns. Several options exist; Hewlett Packard, for example, just released a real-time analysis solution which lets users get answers without a wait, crucial if they want act on trends before their market moves on.
But cloud-friendly analysis can’t exist in a vacuum, and companies need to ask the right questions for any data mining program to dig up useful ore. Unstructured data contains millions of patterns, some useful to a company’s bottom line, and some merely interesting but with no immediate value. As a December 3rd, 2012 article at Forbes notes, analyzing data correctly requires more than just software: a data-driven culture must evolve. The growth of this culture includes not only the realization that actionable data leads to measurable results, but it also informs the recent trend toward hiring data scientists, experts trained to analyze data and ask questions about stored information.
Moving any or all of your data to the cloud is a huge first step, but untouched it does precious little to generate more ROI. A solid, cloud-based data analysis solution leverages both powerful computing technology and informs further decision making – but how do you act on intelligent answers?
Doug Bonderud is a freelance writer, cloud proponent, business technology analyst and a contributor on the Dataprise website. Visit http://www.dataprise.com/contactus/officelocations/maryland for more information.