In my role as CEO of Lucidworks, I get the opportunity to brief a wide range of press and analysts on our progress in the world of Big Data. What I am finding most interesting is that many of the organizations we are working with are not so concerned with the scale of their Big Data application.  Rather, their application challenge involves the variety of information needing to be combined to address their business requirements. 

Anyone who has been around the Big Data space for any length of time has heard the terms “volume, velocity and variety”.  Theoretically, the terms represent the characteristics of the data sets that people first think about when embarking on developing a big data application.  But realistically the data is only the target source for the application. It is the BIG IDEA that solves a new and intriguing business problem that is key.  Otherwise, Big Data is nothing more than technology looking for a problem.

The press and analysts have it right when they continue to challenge vendors on “the use cases” and references. The business use cases are what is most compelling because that is where the rubber meets the road in the Real World (not affiliated with MTV). So how do you decide whether it makes sense to embark on this journey?

Here are a couple of questions that might help provide some assistance:

  1. Can your company get timely access to the right consumer/customer data in order to identify product-related issues and/or competitive advantages? Will a product or service line be vulnerable to the competition if you can’t?
  2. Is your company in a highly regulated industry? Could the implications of your inability to access the terabytes of data on your distributed file shares (aka “dark data”) place your CEO on the front page of the Wall Street Journal?
  3. Will combining information in the public domain with your internal data enable your executive or analytics teams to make better-informed decisions?

These are just a few of the many qualitative questions you could be asking yourself when deciding if this is a journey worth pursuing.

In follow-on blogs, I will describe some of the use cases our (Big Data beta) customers are pursuing in their quest to strike gold through their own BIG IDEAS.