‘Big Data’ is an umbrella term for the combination of various solutions that allow a company to tackle ‘Big Data’ issues: from performance to analytics, from structured to unstructured data. At LACO we see this as the logical continuation of our core business; Transforming data to knowledge.
Big Data is commonly defined by 3 V’s: volume, velocity and variety. Simply put, it’s about exponentially increasing data volumes, from a variety of sources to be analysed in real time. To be fair these 3 V’s are nothing new, and can be addressed with classical BI solutions. The real game changers however are on the one hand the unstructured and/or incredibly large datasets which cannot be analysed with traditional methods and on the other hand the often forgotten fourth ‘V’: ‘Value’ or how to create real value from the vast amount of (newly available) data.
Big Data is most definitely not one solution nor technology and that’s why LACO has decided to focus on elements that bring value to our clients today, while keeping an eye on the current and future developments in the fast changing world of data.
We’ve been listening to our clients to determine to a certain extent our big data priorities and therefore strongly believe our Big Data vision is driven by the real needs of our clients, not some made-up solution that we can offer them. We need to continue to support them in their day-to-day business as we have always done. Therefore LACO has decided to tackle Big Data in a pragmatic way by first focusing on the real issues that our clients are confronted with today. When these are solved, our clients will be able to focus on a true ‘Big Data’ vision and strategy in which we can also support them.
The main ‘big data’-related issue our clients are facing today is performance. Even when clients are not working on analysing the vast ocean of unstructured data coming from sources like social media, data volumes are growing exponentially as companies have ever more sophisticated operational systems delivering data that needs to be analysed. In addition, the growth of stricter requirements from regulators in terms of reporting (e.g. Solvency, IFRS, FDA, etc.) is also putting pressure on our clients to provide faster, more accurate information.
Resolving issues around performance sometimes requires a completely new way of handling data. In a first stage we looked at our main partners and LACO decided to specialise in handling lots of data by implementing (DWH) Appliances (eg. IBM Pure Data powered by Netezza).
Another emerging ‘big data’-related issue for our clients is all about the complexities that come with analysing huge amounts and various types of data. It is by analysing the data that insights into ones business can be generated and thus real value can be created. This is no longer only a technical issue but it’s mainly about organising the BI environment.
A very often hidden aspect of creating insight is the data preparation & integration effort which is needed to be able to start analysing the data. Big data is making this effort even more complex because of the vast amounts of data and/or the variety of data. Al too often a data preparation and integration track takes forever in classic BI environments. LACO has therefore created a vision on how to implement an Agile BI environment. This vision encapsulates several important aspects of a BI and Big Data environment but also creates the perfect environment in which to integrate Self-Service concepts data-savvy end-users are currently looking for.
Aside from mitigating organisational issues, implementing the right (end-user) tools will also become more crucial. LACO is therefore growing its expertise in implementing and using the latest wave of Self-Service BI tools (eg. SAS Visual Analytics) and investigating the tools that are coming to market and compliment the search for insight from Big Data.
The long term ‘big data’-related issues for our clients will be about creating an integrated environment where all pieces of the puzzle seamlessly fall into place. It will be about hiding complexity by delivering solutions which do the heavy lifting (data/integration) and deliver on the promise of generating insight with the click of a button. LACO is therefore investigating multiple innovative products that come to market today or tomorrow – and which are bound to make a big splash in the near future.
LACO’s focus today builds on our core knowledge (transforming data to knowledge) and enables us to not spread ourselves too thinly on a multitude of technologies. It also allows us to pick the quick wins, for our clients and us, where we can. Our focus for tomorrow also build on our core knowledge but challenges us to think out of the box whilst keeping a pragmatic mind-set to ensure the solutions we bring to market are exactly what our clients need.