IBM IOD 2011: CIOs must look to real-time analytics for 'big data'

IBM chief scientist, Jeff Jonas, claims businesses must implement real-time analytics to remain competitive.

CIOs faced with the encroaching issue of ‘big data’ should look to investing in real-time analytics platforms in order to remain competitive in the future, according to IBM chief scientist, Jeff Jonas.

At IBM’s annual Information on Demand conference, Jonas said many businesses were opting for batch technologies to deal with ‘big data’, which businesses often define as levels of data they could not previously handle. feature: How predictive analytics is tackling customer attrition at American Express

“Most of the time when I talk about big data that’s not what I mean, for me when it comes to ‘big data’ it refers to a point when you have enough data that the dynamics change… suddenly it gets different,” Jonas said.

“As a trend, I see most people immediately think batch for everything ‘big data’ and there is a whole class of problems that is suited for, but not all problems.

“I believe the most competitive organisations are going to be those who can figure out what’s important closer to the moment it’s happening so they can do something about it while it’s happening.”

According to Jonas, while batch has many capabilities, it will not do everything required of ‘big data'.

“Batch can never grow up to be real-time whereas real time systems can do batch,” he said.

Joans said using batch will give a “smart answer” at the end of each week. But CIOs will soon be wondering why they have to wait so long and he advises IT professionals not to invest in batch alone when the real-time option is there.

“With batch you can’t notice it while it’s happening, it’s a slowly emerging trend," he said.

"Anyone using these big batch systems to find deep hidden patterns that need reflection, you’re going to take what you learn from that and instrument it to do real time outcomes with it.”

However, IBM program director for emerging internet technology, David Barnes, claims the industry should “walk before they run” when it comes to ‘big data’.

“The key thing when establishing a big data strategy is to make sure your structured data and your unstructured data can live together in harmony,” Barnes said.

“Today they’re starting to silo which means businesses will then have to go back and integrate them.

“Businesses should architect now to avoid going through the pains later because re-architecting is hard and is vastly expensive so get it right in advance, CIOs have the opportunity now to start out doing it right.”

In creating a strategy for ‘big data’, Barnes recommends businesses to bring in somebody “young and web savvy” to establish a fresh perspective on the business model in order to bring new ideas and help innovate.

“Also look at your business to determine whether it is at risk, for example with the wealth of new mobile devices or that changes in industries such as movies or books, and decide whether the business model needs to change," he said.

Chloe Herrick travelled to Las Vegas as a guest of IBM

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