As big data remains at the helm of 2013 tech trends, a Gartner Inc. survey finds the topic has spurred 42 percent of IT leaders to invest in big data products and services, or plan to invest within a year.
Big data, as MaintenanceNet’s Scott Herron explained in a Channel Partners blog last year, exists across unstructured and structured data sets, which include everything from Word and PDF files, to email messages, video, audio, photos and even enterprise-class database systems. Its called big data because it can scale to multiple petabytes, with additional files constantly being created and added to the collection. Each company has their own big-data repository, but the ecosystem that makes up this extensive volume of information can extend out to vendors, distributors and channel partners.
The complexity facing organizations, then, is clear, and they are starting to understand how big data could transform their operations, said Doug Laney, research vice president at Gartner.
"The new key questions have shifted to ‘What are the strategies and skills required?’ and ‘How can we measure and ensure our return on investment?’ Most organizations are still in the early stages, and few have thought through an enterprise approach or realized the profound impact that big data will have on their infrastructure, organizations and industries."
The channel partner opportunity for big data is immense.
"Vendors would be remiss if they did not leverage their resellers as well as the data sources these partners rely upon day in and day out such as ordering, sales and CRM platforms to further fuel big-data initiatives," Herron wrote last year. "Some big-data systems are already doing this and are currently in use in the channel today in the form of pioneering cloud-based service contract management platforms that pull valuable data from across the supply chain, ultimately using it as the backbone of automated and enhanced global sales processes that generate millions of dollars in incremental revenue for resellers."
With these tools at hand, channel partners can help IT and business leaders cut through the hype surrounding big data, particularly as so many execs worry about lagging behind competitors when it comes to launching big data initiatives, Gartner found.
"Business and IT executives regularly say that information is one of their company’s greatest assets," said Laney. "Businesses are increasingly managing and deploying information more effectively than ever, but certainly not with the well-honed asset management discipline applied to their traditional material, financial or other intangible assets. The application of formal information valuation models will allow IT, information management and business leaders to make better-informed decisions on information management, enrichment, security, risks, purchasing, collection, usage, bartering, productization and disposal."