October 12, 2013

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A History of Big Data

You need only to have a look around the business world to see how important large amounts of data have become over the last few decades. The exponential growth in data creation, both structured and unstructured, is allowing businesses to analyse information and convert it into new opportunities in ways never before possible. This data phenomenon is known by the catchphrase ‘Big Data’. While the big data buzz word is seemingly inescapable in the corporate world these days, few people stop to question the origin and history of what is considered a “new” technology, and how it has become a critical element in today’s data-intensive world.

The Journey Thus Far
It is easy to believe that the existence of big data goes no farther back than the last several years, and that the analysis of data in general has become critical for businesses only in the last couple of decades. It is true that the business stance on data analysis has shifted over time; the more accessible data has become, the more important it has been for businesses to find ways to convert data to enriched sources of business insight, thereby gaining competitive advantage. Many companies today have a laser-like focus on using data as a business asset. However, data has been an integral part of doing business for far longer than you may imagine, and big data itself has a little-known history that dates back to the early 20th century. Join us for a brief look at some of the pinnacle points that have defined this “new” technology of big data, and consider for a moment the lesson that history can teach us about the big data phenomenon.

Big Data: Then and Now


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What’s next?
There you have it: a brief history of how big data has come into being. As always, we look at history to understand what it can teach us about the future. What is the real lesson we should learn from big data’s past? We would argue that the most important message of big data is that, when it comes to information, it is not what you know or how much you have, but how you use it. Fifteen years ago, anyone who possessed information was king. Today and in the future, it is about how that information is used. The success of businesses tomorrow will not lie simply in who implements big data, but in who uses it to their greatest advantage.

New technologies will continue to enter the market to help ensure large quantities of data are managed, safeguarded and analysed more efficiently. HCL is at the forefront of developing innovative solutions that can transform the way organisations process this information. Understanding the “right” way to manage and use data is a daunting challenge for many organizations, but HCL has solutions and frameworks ready to meet the needs of any business. We work closely with individual clients to understand their specific business requirements in order to develop custom solutions that will help companies get the most out of their big data, and make strategic decisions for the future.

Author’s Note:
This is the first of a collection of articles around the importance of big data. Stay tuned for future blogs on how big data has begun to re-shape certain industries by creating new and innovative opportunities.