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AUG 25, 2014 5:00am ET

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The Business Problem with Big Data Analytics


Recent software analyst and IT media reports, including insights from a recent SAP Americas User Group (ASUG) survey, suggest that SAP’s HANA Big Data service / platform is not yet seen by a majority of ASUG members as benefiting their business (relative to the implementation cost of implementing), or driving enough revenue growth for SAP. SAP has, very smartly, issued a careful rebuttal explaining how, where, and why customers see value in HANA – and more importantly, offering to work with any customer to help them understand and realize business benefits from the offering and its associated apps.

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Comments (3)
I would say that the lack of IT skills to manage data is an indictment of the business leadership. This is NOT rocket science, and there are thousands of businesses that do manage to innovate and adapt around data.

The SAP HANA survey result is however indicative of a different problem and that is the way enterprise IT is managed financially. The big data innovation came from organizations that build products that required big data skills to create the value inherent in the product. And these skills where expensive, but since there was a direct relationship between investment and revenue growth, it was easy to justify the investment. Most enterprise IT, however, is managed as a cost center. That creates two problems: 1- investments for long term value creation can only be introduced top-down, and 2- it shifts the enterprise IT team's focus from value creation to cost reduction.

Big data is about long term value creation, so most enterprise IT business processes are not aligned properly, and HANA is running head first into this constraint. Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark are not, although Cloudera, HortonWorks, and MapR are, but to a lesser degree than SAP due to the cost difference.

Posted by Theodore O | Monday, August 25 2014 at 10:33AM ET
@Theodore O - couldn't have said this better. The legacy business management always assigns a fiscal value to IT actions - almost willing them to success in innovation, data distillation etc. However, the amount they are spending on operations, or phasing out stale data never seems to make it the list of cost benefits for the 'powers that be'. Add to it the security travails in recent times means IT is always playing it on the backfoot. Big data is valuable, but we must tame the beast to derive value as well as reduce security risks. -
Posted by Eamon W | Monday, September 01 2014 at 4:17PM ET
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