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HP Software's community for IT leaders // October 2013
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Zoom ahead of the big data curve

Many European organizations are still struggling to fully exploit big data. Despite the complexities, you can gain an advantage if you plan your big data strategy now.

The announcement of HP’s HAVEn big data analytics platform was one of the highlights of HP Discover Las Vegas. It’s sure to remain one of the hottest topics at HP Discover Barcelona, as experts and peers from around the region gather to learn more about what it takes to turn big data into big opportunities.

What makes big data “big”—its sheer volume—is only one of the ways it challenges your enterprise. Big data’s three other important characteristics must also be taken into account: variety, velocity, and vulnerability.

  • Data now comes in many forms: machine data, business data, and “human information,” which is unstructured text and rich media created in blogs and other social media sites.
  • The speed at which new information is generated—and the speed at which you must act on the data to compete—require techniques and tools that let you analyze and act on data in near real time.
  • A significant portion of your information may contain sensitive corporate or constituent data that must be safeguarded and made accessible only to those with clearance to access it.

With a clear understanding of the four Vs of big data—volume, velocity, variety, and vulnerability—you can devise a big data strategy that encompasses many services and functions and integrates them in a way that is aligned with business objectives. Aligning IT and business objectives may be old news to you, but companies around the world still miss this crucial point, says Kevin Withnall, a director at global IT research firm Vanson Bourne. “The advantage of successful big data exploitation can only be achieved if IT and the business work together.” But, he adds, “it’s the minority of companies that get this.”

A chance to take the lead

According to Stewart Townsend and Carlos Somohano, who organized the first annual Big Data Week event last year, many large European organizations are still in the early adoption stages of big data technologies. “We also see that the concept of data science and the role of the data scientist is well adopted in many U.S. companies, and not so much in Europe,” they said in an interview for the O’Reilly Strata event website in April 2012.

Despite the complexities, bigger data is better—and you can gain an advantage if you prioritize big data sooner than your competitors. There are companies in Europe that are ahead of the curve when it comes to big data, particularly in industries like financial services. As Steven O’Hanlon, CEO and president of Numerix, a provider of analytics for derivatives and structured products, told European CEO magazine, “The fascination with big data in the financial community has spurred perhaps the foremost industry development of the past two years and will no doubt continue to do so for the near future.”

No matter your industry, the more connections you make, the better the insights that are revealed, and the better and faster your reactions to them. Your business can become smarter and more profitable than ever.

To make big data work for you, you’ll need a platform that can help you:

  • Deal holistically with all your disparate data sources
  • Process data insights at the speed of conversation
  • Get started quickly

“Organizations that are struggling with big data will tend to only use data as a measurement of past performance,” adds Withnall. “Those at the forefront of the big data opportunity will be turning to data as a forecaster.”

Privacy is key to big data governance and security

Invariably, when you start talking about enterprise big data, the subject of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) arises. “Businesses in Europe considering the use of big data techniques in their operations are likely to start with privacy issues when addressing GRC,” says Alistair Maughan, a partner in the London office of international law firm Morrison & Foerster. “The existence of a largely harmonized data-privacy regime across the EU means that the potential effects of privacy issues on any new business approach are increasingly given priority.”

In July, the European Commission adopted the European Cybercrime Directive, which aims to more severely punish those who commit cybercrime. In addition, “it ought to have an indirect effect on GRC for corporate data because it suggests a structure and taxonomy by which firms should address the protections to be built into their systems when implementing big data approaches,” says Maughan, who co-chairs his firm’s technology transactions group.

“People are often the weakest link, so consider the risks posed by suppliers, employees, and other users, in addition to technical risks,” Maughan cautions. “Check existing contracts and amend if needed to ensure that it is clear what your rights and remedies will be in case of a breach. Certain types of services such as cloud computing may raise particular security concerns that will need to be addressed.”

And, of course, you must also employ big data tools that help you address security.

Formulating your big data strategy

Your big data strategy, like your overall approach to IT, needs to include many services and functions that are integrated in a way that is aligned with business objectives. Easier said than done? Not if you can create a strategy and employ a big data technology platform that:

  • Allows you to capture and analyze 100 percent of your information
  • Encompasses hardware, software, services, and business transformation consulting
  • Addresses big data volume, velocity, variety, and vulnerability

The HAVEn platform is designed to help you address these challenges in an open way that will work with the tools and partners you already have. Attend HP Discover Barcelona to hear the latest big data success stories and learn how customers are using HAVEn to take control of all their information.

Register for HP Discover Barcelona 2013 and learn more about HP’s approach to big data.


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