Big data grew up. It’s no longer something novel or optional; it’s essential for delivering business intelligence, marketing insight, product development, and driving future strategies and investments. Big data adoption is expected to skyrocket next year from its current 30 percent (or so) market saturation to become officially mainstream. By the end of 2017, the number of organizations using big data will likely outnumber those that are not. So, what does the field of big data have up its sleeve for the coming year? Let’s take a peek.
1. Large Volumes of Unstructured Data Enter the Fray
Companies have become astute at leveraging their structured data — the data tucked neatly into those relational databases. But the real value and untapped potential of big data is in the massive quantities of unstructured data. Look for 2017 to be the year that organizations finally give up their security blankets of SQL databases in favor of NoSQL databases and all the potential of unstructured data like text documents, audio and video files, social media posts, email archives, and more.
2. The IoT Stops Being a Buzzword and Becomes Mainstream
The buzz over the IoT will begin to die down next year, as companies stop talking about the potential for connected devices and begin to apply them in realistic ways to real workloads. While the consumer IoT gets most of the media attention, the true value is in the industrial IoT. Companies will begin leveraging the industrial IoT for everything from managing logistics and the supply chain to improving operational efficiency to ensuring workplace security. Expect that the real impact of the industrial IoT will be in the realm of business intelligence, where vast banks of connected devices deliver real-time BI, many offered ‘as a Service’ or SaaS.
3. The Hadoop Ecosystem Continues to Grow and Mature
The year 2016 saw the maturation of some big data tools and the falling off of others. For example, there are now much better alternatives to MapReduce, and Storm is all but defunct. But others are offering enormous potential, including Spark, Flink, Kafka, and Arrow. The Hadoop ecosystem will continue to expand and refine itself, particularly in the arenas of data mining, predictive analytics, data visualization, storage solutions, and related endeavors.
4. Machine Learning Goes Mainstream
To date, machine learning has been something of a novelty. Over the course of next year, it will become a very realistic and practical tool for business analytics. Machine learning is merely the process of generalizing a body of knowledge from the data. By the end of the year, all data scientists and all big data projects should have machine learning as a part of their overall strategies. It’s the natural progression of big data.
5. Most Companies will Employ a Chief Data Officer
Gartner has predicted that by the end of 2017, 25 percent of all enterprises will hire a Chief Data Officer, or CDO. This position is designed to oversee data strategy, governance, policy management, quality, lifecycle management, and security. While companies will determine for themselves whether big data belongs in the IT department, in operations, or somewhere else, the CDO will help assure that the entire organization shares both the responsibility for and the benefits of the company’s big data.
What else might happen in the wide world of big data next year? You can keep up with all of the big data moving and shaking when you follow us on Twitter.