In the scramble to become relevant in the brave new world of Big Data, a full spectrum of technology vendors from analytics and search vendors to cloud-enabled service providers and high-performance storage manufactures have entered the market.
All of the industry’s largest enterprise-focused vendors have made numerous acquisitions over the last two years to fill out their Big Data solutions portfolio. However, when organizations are challenged with the task of unifying and analyzing massive amounts of data culled from a variety or structured, semi-structured and unstructured data sources, a big vendor solution is not necessarily better.
During a recent Wikibon Peer Incite broadcast featuring Brigham Hyde, Managing Director of life science analytics firm Relay Technology Management and Sid Probstein, CTO for unified information access (UIA) software provider Attivio, panelists and participants discussed performance requirements as well as the need to be able to handle large volumes of data from a variety of sources using a single tool and dashboard.
Hyde discussed the difficulties bio-informatics specialists face when trying to gather all relevant data into one place. “Relational databases don’t scale and have no logical connection to documents and ontological libraries," he said. "Our research demands much more data variety and volume than any traditional, structured database-oriented approach can deliver. We also need to help our customers more easily visualize data and offer them a choice of query options including SQL and contextual search.”
Probstein, shared how Attivio’s Active Intelligence Engine (AIE) allows customers like Relay to quickly build relationships between large structured and unstructured data sources across many different repositories using advanced text search and SQL queries, while enabling concept search and boosting relevancy.
Relay also announced that it has teamed up with Attivio and TIBCO to deliver its Relay Innovation Engine, a SaaS-based solution that puts data discovery in the hands of life sciences companies. TIBCO’s Spotfire offers real-time BI and data visualization capabilities. Hyde remarked, “The combination of Attivio’s AIE, TIBCO’s Spotfire, and Relay’s proprietary ontologies and data architecture gives our customers the ability to access, explore, and visualize massive amounts of data in an easier, more meaningful way.”
Many so-called Big Data tools may work on a small data set but break down when they need to scale. Hyde pointed out that the more relevant data sources you can mine and combine such as patent information, clinical trial and claims information, feeds from collaboration or content management systems, social media sites, and databases, the richer the results. “Human-generated content is the key to enriching information.”
Too many vendors have no concept of why data can get big. A stacks-based, one-of-everything approach creates more complexity and delivers less value. SaaS models for analytics solutions are also becoming much more viable as cloud-enabled solutions continue to gain acceptance in the marketplace. Meanwhile, the market for buying and selling data is exploding in just about every industry, presenting new business opportunities.
Action Item: Vendors in or entering the Big Data space need to deliver solutions that handle a variety of structured and unstructured data types and sources. Big Data solutions also need to scale to accommodate ever-increasing volumes of data in a world where the thought process is, “more data is better.” Vendors need to offer SaaS- or cloud-enabled solutions where they host and secure data, and they should also look for ways to monetize their internal data analytics capabilities.