Will Big Data still be a buzzword in 2016?


Glenn Jacobi, Operations Manager:

Big Data is one of those buzzword concepts that, as we kick off 2016, still confounds and puzzles as to what it means in the real world – but this is changing.

Oxford Dictionaries tells us that a buzzword is “a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context”. With this in mind, Big Data is still a buzzword with plenty of hype. One could argue that the term is too broad to be meaningful.

Glenn Jacobi, Operations Manager, JKVine

As someone who is interested in the latest enterprise IT trends, one of my favourite Gartner reports is the “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies”. Gartner’s hype cycle descriptions read like locations from a Gary Larsen cartoon – from the heights of Peak of Inflated Expectations to the doom of Trough of Disillusionment – but they are an interesting and thoughtful look at what’s coming.

Interestingly, “Big Data” featured as recently as the 2013 and 2014 Gartner reports. However, as a separate concept of its own, Big Data isn’t present in the 2015 report.

There is “Internet of Things”, “Advanced Analytics With Self-Service Delivery”, and “Wearables”, even “Smart Dust”, so is the concept of Big Data actually fragmenting into things that are useful and tangible?

This interesting article in Forbes entitled “Big Data Solving Big Problems” discusses some meta concepts, such as enabling hotels to change room prices depending on weather, and delivery trucks to optimise delivery routes by minimising the turns where they have to wait for oncoming traffic.

More applicable for everyday situations though, and similar to some of the work that JKVine has completed for clients, are examples such as how Bristol-Myers Squibb reduced the time it takes to run clinical trial simulations by 98%, by extending its internally hosted grid environment into AWS. (As a side note, for security, part of this involved a dedicated, encrypted VPN tunnel to the Amazon gateway and configuring a virtual private cloud.)

For a more cynical view, see this blog post from ReDATA in Canada on Big Data fatigue, who say “Big Data is Dead, Long Live Big Data!”

From our view, across the board, we are seeing more and more of our clients investigating how Big Data Analytics can make a difference to how they run their business. With the very real ability to manipulate large volumes of data and convert complex information into commercial, political and social value, Big Data is rapidly becoming mainstream. As this continues to evolve, we believe Big Data will blend as a concept into everyday business.

N.B. – Speaking of buzzwords, I mentioned “Big Data” 13 times in this article, and only mentioned “Cloud” once :-)