HP zooms in on unstructured big data

Australia "very mature" big data market, says HP official.

Mohan Krishnan, HP general manager of technology consulting for Asia-Pacific and Japan

Mohan Krishnan, HP general manager of technology consulting for Asia-Pacific and Japan

HP aims to delve deeper into the big data market, with a particular focus on how to manage unstructured data, company officials said at the HP World Tour in Beijing.

HP announced it has expanded its big data consulting practice to advise customers on strategy, design and implementation techniques to reduce costs and increase productivity.

Asked if HP might be late to the game given a large amount of competition in the big data space, Mohan Krishnan, HP general manager of technology consulting for Asia-Pacific and Japan, argued that the company is tackling a slightly different area than others.

“A lot of focus in the industry has been on the structured data,” Krishnan said. However, the consumerisation of IT and rise of social media has driven much greater growth of unstructured data, he said.

Only about 20 per cent of generated data is structured, he said. The rest is unstructured and it’s growing at two to three times the speed of structured data, he said.

“So if you ask me, are we late? I don’t know—it’s a matter of perspective.”

“Big data is the new buzzword after cloud,” said Daniel Aw, HP technology consulting sales director for Asia Pacific and Japan. HP noticed that many customers wanted to do something with big data but were not sure what or how to do it, he said.

“Australia is very mature” in its use of big data, Aw said.

HP has talked to a couple customers there who are fairly advanced in what they want to do with big data, he said. Aw declined to name the customers, but said he has seen the most advanced customers in the financial services sector. However, the banks have so far focused largely on structured data, he said.

Other Australian companies in different industries are just starting to look at big data, he said.

Krishnan said big data should be a key issue for businesses.

“Every enterprise action that is taken within the enterprise creates a unique digital footprint of information that can be from within the organisation and outside.”

The data can include something as small as a tweet or a major event like a customer invoice resulting from a sale, he said.

“When the information is not really used, we call it dark data because it’s not being used for predictive analysis or making business decisions,” Krishnan said.

A big challenge to effective big data analysis is the “sheer volume of data that is flooding the systems,” he said. By 2015, companies with more than 1,000 employees will have an average of 14.6PB of data, he said.

Other challenges include the variety with which data is formatted and the speed with which it is generated. One industrial machine can generate 1TB of data in one hour, he said.

Security is another concern. Krishnan said the cost of theft of information from Fortune 500 companies is $4 billion.

Adam Bender travelled to Beijing as a guest of HP.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

Tags HPstructured dataunstructured datasecurityChinaBeijingbig dataanalysis

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