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Forbes: What’s Next For Big Data?

December 29, 2014-

By Howard Baldwin

One of my favorite moments in television was when Martin Sheen, as President Josiah Bartlet on The West Wing, would make an executive decision and dismissively say to his staff, “What’s next?” As much as we personally claim to hate change, culturally, we seem to have an unending hunger for what’s next – especially when it comes to big data (among other things).

Offhand, if I didn’t know better, I’d say that everyone got a crystal ball for Christmas.

Several of those crystals delivered a picture that blurred big data with the Internet of Things, although that’s not a surprise given how closely they’re intertwined. Tech Times put the two on top of its Top Tech Trends list, followed by robots, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing (which, you could argue, also share some characteristics).

Of Jeff Bertolucci’s six bold predictions in InformationWeek for big data in 2015, two of which referenced the Internet of Things. The real kicker in his predictions: companies that never had a relationship with end-customers before – because of their distribution model – are now going to have one. Here’s a prediction of my own: really smart companies are going to start thinking about managing that relationship sooner rather than later.

Neil Biehn touches on a key aspect of this in his IT Pro Portal story asking, What will happen to big data and data science in 2015? He wisely links back to a longtime trend in enterprise applications: “Organisations have spent billions of pounds on ERP and CRM systems, and today they’re sitting on petabytes of big data gold mines. The most astute CEOs are looking for new opportunities to use their data assets to extract predictive and prescriptive analytics that evaluate how their companies are performing.” Another prediction from me: it’s not just a question of getting value from the data, but giving value back to the people who lent it to you in the first place. Consider it “data interest.”

For a longer list of big data prescriptions, Adam Shepherd of Database Trends and Applications polled industry execs on their prognostications for 2015. No surprises here: Hadoop, security, BI, IoT. But he also discusses something that I’m going to look at in more depth next week: the role of the data scientist. Everyone seems to be having staffing problems when it comes to big data, and the predictions around data scientists seem to range widely from their needing a PhD. to no need for a PhD.

Or are we all going to be data scientists someday? Indeed, the first prediction of Forbes contributor Prakash Nanduri, CEO of Paxata, positing on BI in 2015, reads: “The lines will blur between data scientists and data analysts.” (Still remembering the days when we were all going to write macros, I’m hesitant to back this prediction.)

Many of these stories are fluffy, year-end compilations that are easy to both write and read. The desire to read in-depth stories diminishes considerably when you’re home between the holidays and leftovers are singing to you from the refrigerator. But do check out Graeme Burton’s piece in Computing from last week on how EU data protection regulations will affect big data; it’s really thought-provoking.

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