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Thinking about Big Data

"Big Data" has leapt rapidly into one of the most hyped terms in our industry, yet the hype should not blind people to the fact that this is a genuinely important shift about the role of data in the world. The amount, speed, and value of data sources is rapidly increasing.

Note: The following is an excerpt from Martin Fowler's Info Deck on Big Data.

Data management has to change in five broad areas:

  1. Extraction of data from a wider range of sources,
  2. Changes to the logistics of data management with new database and integration approaches,
  3. The use of agile principles in running analytics projects,
  4. An emphasis on techniques for data interpretation to separate signal from noise, and
  5. The importance of well-designed visualization to make that signal more comprehensible.

Summing up this means we don't need big analytics projects, instead we want the new data thinking to permeate our regular work.

  • There is a significant change in the role that data plays in our activities.
  • Although the term big data is often used to describe this change, it's not just about how much data we are looking to use.
  • You may want to think of "big" applying to the importance of data - that data is playing a bigger role in our lives. Or just don't try to read "big data" literally.

Big data is term that's generated a lot of hype. But I think it's important to resist our usual aversion to hype in this case - there is a significant change in thinking that's happening. This shift forces us to change many long-held assumptions about data. It opens up new opportunities, but also calls for new thinking and new skills.

Visit MartinFowler.com for the full Info Deck.


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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