– Vishnu Bhat, Vice President and Head-Infosys Cloud and Big Data

We’ve journeyed a long way from yesterday’s wireless era to today’s digital age where connected devices and social media are rapidly converging. These devices – predicted to touch 7 trillion by 2017, along with pervasive digital content and applications, are shaping a new world – all the while generating data in ways we never thought possible. And, here, we are talking really BIG data – zetabyte big. Yet, few of us business users have found the means to harness it. Interestingly,  this only seems to have whetted our appetites. Everyone wants relevant insights, better time-to-insight, with greater accuracy, and in a form that we can readily consume and act upon. Because there is no doubt that when we unlock the value inherent in our enterprise’s Big Data we also unearth invaluable business advantage.

And yet, this realization is of little value to the average pin-striped executive-in-a-cubicle, unless he has the means to gather, process and act on this Big Data. Raised on a diet of mostly structured data, neatly ordered into databases, Big Data is an exotic salad he just cannot get to. And yet it’s too tempting to ignore. The challenge lies is the fact that unstructured information – a significant component of Big Data – makes up 80% of the average enterprise’s data resources. And this comes in a variety of emerging forms. Therefore what must be tackled is not just exploding volume, but also expanding variety. And what seems like an exciting prospect today can well turn to frustration tomorrow if this challenge is not hurdled. After all, research says it takes 12 days to integrate new sources of data into existing systems. And by the time most of us are done discovering this data and absorbing it into the enterprise repository, a lot of it has likely become irrelevant and un-actionable.

To take that first big step towards democratization of Big Data, business users need a platform that delivers all the capabilities on the Big Data value chain – from data discovery to insight harvesting to decision execution – on tap and affordably. A platform, which accesses both internal and external data sources, and is equally capable of handling structured and unstructured data in all its forms and formats. This platform must enable users to develop and adopt Big Data applications by providing out of the box, features like: connectivity to relevant internal and external data sources – including social media; automated analytical functions; and ready-to-use algorithms which turn the burden of insight generation into a matter of plug and play. And of course, help execute these insights into actions by triggering integrated workflows that point to the best way forward.

A great start to truly leveraging the Big Data opportunity to help fortify our businesses and confidently face the challenges of tomorrow.