August Insights On The Future of Big Data & Business Intelligence

Our reliance on data is growing, and the right alignment of IT and business objectives can help us find the answers we’re looking for. With the need to stay competitive by facilitating convenience and exceptional service to our customers, the importance of combining Big Data with business intelligence is a no-brainer.



“BI’s primary objective is achieving better information visibility.” – Brad Cowdrey: Founder & CEO of Clear Peak LLC.

With the vast number of BI tools available, it’s easy to say that Business Intelligence makes our lives a whole lot easier, with the benefits of optimisation, simplified tasks, efficient workload management and even an increase in organisational success.

Businesses are achieving this by either embedding BI software in-house, buying embedding software or outsourcing their software development.



“BI software has become almost a staple in any data-centric company regardless of size. Big or small, startup or well-rooted enterprise, the idea that data is power has finally begun to stick, and having quality tools to make this happen has become a business priority.” – Inside Big Data.

By collecting data from multiple, disparate systems, analysing and transforming it into meaningful insights and displaying it in an easy to understand format, businesses can utilise data to drive growth more rapidly than ever before.

“Australian organisations can now tap on a rather new concept to help drive business growth and competitive advantage. A combination of business intelligence software and collaboration tools has resulted in what many are calling collaborative business intelligence. Applied to company-wide analytics and reporting, collaborative business intelligence allows for better sharing of data and information and a more team approach to decision-making.” – Dr. Lawrence Ampofo: Founder & Director of Semantica Research.



“Every so often, we see a shift in technology that will be the catalyst for innovation. Today, SaaS, cloud computing, social computing and mobile computing are examples of popular new computing models that present an opportunity for innovation in business intelligence.” – Bob Zurek: Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at HealthcareSource.

Cloud computing and data science enable discovery; and discovery leads to new products, services, applications and business models that change the way we do things. Although this presents a challenge to businesses who constantly need to evolve, the technologies we tap into are immensely useful in the process. They also act as an enabler between people and processes, streamlining the communication process and allowing for better collaboration. With devices simplifying the distribution of data flow, business leaders can make the right decisions in real-time.

“Data-driven businesses of the future will be able to tap on technologies and tools to allow peers to analyse data, and change information via the web. Collaboration business intelligence tools of the near future will allow teams to brainstorm ideas conveniently, remotely and seamlessly interact with each other using features like those on social networking websites.” – Wigins.



Business Intelligence is helping us seize opportunities and manage competitive threats, but getting it right is about much more than just building a data warehouse.

“You’ve got to have the right technology and a clear data architecture roadmap, but you’ve also got to have an organisation that can consume information and develop insight. That’s absolutely the number one tip: if you don’t view your BI project as a pervasive cultural approach to business, you might as well not bother starting.” – Martin Draper: Technology Director at Liberty.

Fostering the right culture can happen by educating your team, planning a long-term roadmap and having strategic clarity on what the desired outcome is.

“You need to define what success looks like, such as increasing customer value, increasing market penetration, or generating cost efficiencies. During this step, Big Data project owners should look to secure management buy-in. This will help ensure a strong data-driven culture pervades the organisation, giving projects legitimacy and value.” – David Sharp: CEO of RoZetta Technology.


For more resources, please see below:

The Future of Business Intelligence

The Difference Between Big Data & Business Intelligence

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Change Global Security

How Building A Data Ecosystem Adds Value To Your Business

The Future of Business Intelligence Is Embedded and Conversational

CIO Strategies: Five Best Tips For Implementing Business Intelligence

Big Data And Cloud Computing: Innovation Opportunities and Challenges

Discovering New Innovations In Predictive Analytics And Business Intelligence

Six Reasons Why Data Visualisation Is The Future Of Storytelling

“A picture is worth a thousand words – especially when you are trying to find relationships and understand your data.” – SAS.

Gone are the days when businesses struggled to extract meaning from mass volumes of raw data and make insights come to light. Now, with the increasing number of data visualisation tools in the market, businesses are making faster and smarter decisions by engaging with data that’s easy to access and easy to understand.

Here’s 5 reasons why data visualisation is the future of storytelling.



“Well designed data graphics are usually the simplest and at the same time, the most powerful.” – Centerline Digital.

Let’s say you’ve been given a short time frame to analyse thousands, or even millions of rows of numerical data, and make decisions based on the insights you’ve generated. How are you going to make it happen? Businesses have responded to this challenge by transforming data into visual content.

“Data visualisation turns numbers and letters into aesthetically pleasing visuals, making it easy to recognise patterns and find exceptions.” – Norman Shamas: Former Director of Curriculum at TechChange.



“The huge amounts of content available on the internet has significant implications for the modern day consumers’ attention span.” – Rob Weatherhead: The Guardian.

Speed, convenience and instant gratification enabled by technology are must-haves for today’s consumers. While trying to keep up with what’s in-demand, businesses have discovered the impact of visualising content in retaining engagement.

“Data visualisation excels in capturing a viewer’s attention and holding it through storytelling. It addresses a complex problem that could be easily looked over, and simplifies it using design.” – Elsa Wong: Author at Bridgeable.



“The faster a company can generate information from their sources, the faster they can generate their answers.” – Jessica Folliett: Author at Dataversy.

As the old saying goes, time is money. Many businesses struggle with the dilemma of whether or not to invest in Big Data due to the time and cost involved in generating insights. However, recent reports from Prysm Inc. show that data visualisation has significantly improved the decision making process when it comes to investing in data analytics.

“80 percent of organisations report more accurate decision making when using data visualisation tools. Further, 86 percent of companies report faster decision making through data visualisation, while 81 percent noted that the tools improved customer behavior insights.” – Prysm Inc.



“The best data visualisations are ones that expose something new about the underlying patterns and relationships contained within the data. Understanding those relationships — and being able to observe them — is key to good decision making.” – Julie Steele: Author at O’Reilly.

Across many industries, data visualisation is being used to uncover hidden patterns and predict future trends and behaviors, helping businesses prepare for what’s to come.

“The primary objective of visual design is to present content to your readers in a manner that highlights what’s important, arranges it for clarity and leads them through it in a sequence that tells the story best.” – Stephen Few: Show Me The Numbers.



“As we progress further into being an information society, data visualisation is becoming increasingly valuable.” – Elsa Wong: Author at Bridgeable.

In a world saturated with ever-increasing data and information, it’s now more important than ever for organisations to recognise what’s relevant and what isn’t. By combining data with creative visuals, businesses are able to find those golden nuggets of information amidst all the clutter.

“The beauty of data visualisation is that you can communicate far more information in a more digestible package than you can with text alone. While that doesn’t mean you have to use every piece of data at your disposal, you can tell a rich story in a single visualisation.” – Katy French: Author at Business 2 Community.



“We’ve seen rapid growth in visualising as much data as possible to tell stories and present business results.” – Thomas Powell: CEO of ZingChart.

When done right, data visualisation tools can help you create engaging presentations that hold persuasive power with investors, managers and executives alike. Not only is visual data more engaging, it also helps you tell the strongest story and encourage a call-to-action.

“Unique and truly compelling visualisations are an underused, yet devastatingly effective tactic. They are equal parts rare and in demand.They are a catalyst for conversation, awareness, and action.” – Adam Singer: Author at ClickZ.


For more resources, please see below:

Storytelling With Data

Why Data Visualisation Matters

Why Data Visualisation Is Important

The Importance of Data Visualisation

Data Visualisation: What It Is And Why It Matters

Big Data Dilemma: Save Money Vs. Make Money

The Importance Of Big Data And Data Visualisation

How Time-To-Insight Is Driving Big Data Business Investment

7 Data-Storytelling Tips From Centuries-Old Data Visualisation

Data Visualisation: Your Secret Weapon In Storytelling and Persuasion

Say It Quick, Say It Well – The Attention Span Of A Modern Internet Consumer

Data Visualisation Holds The Key To More Efficient Decision-Making, New Report Reveals

The Increasing Importance of Data Visualisation: An Interview With ZingChart’s Thomas Powell

How To Make Big Data Work For Your Business In 6 Steps

“If you use bad quality data to make decisions, the insights will be meaningless.” – Florence La Carbona: Enterprise Data Manager at TAL.

Good data is good for business. You can have a vast amount it, and the technical experts to analyse it, but that still doesn’t mean you’ll get the answers you need.

Here’s how to make Big Data work for your business in 6 steps.


“Big Data can be a lot like spring cleaning. You can come across a lot of ‘stuff’ you don’t really need, but you still have to dig into it. So where do you start?” – TechRepublic.

In a world saturated with ever-increasing data and information, it’s important to recognise what’s relevant and what isn’t. The best way to do this is to make sure the data you’re using is aligned with the use case at hand.

“Good data quality always depends on the context in which it is used.” –

Picking the right use case involves clearly defining your business outcomes. What are you trying to achieve with Big Data Analytics?

“The Business outcome will help the organisation stay focused on finding the right match for the business challenge. From there, they can clean and link only the most pertinent data.”- Yoni Malchi: Author at World Wide Technology.



“Are ‘data-rich’ organisations really leveraging their data to support continuous improvement? To succeed at this they must provide user-friendly tools that turn what is often an overwhelming amount of data into actionable insights.” – Menno Veeneklaas & Tibor Schwartz: Partners In Performance.

Gone are the days where businesses struggled extract meaning from mass volumes of raw data and wait several days, even weeks, for results. New software tools have taken the pain out of the process involved in collecting and analysing data. Products like Hadoop, Pig, Hive and Spark allow you to create your own Big Data stack and build your own solution platform.

“New architectural concepts such as data lakes or technologies like Spark and Hadoop require enterprises to rethink their data pipelines, starting at the source where data is produced, to how it is transported and eventually stored and prepared for analysis.” – Kumar Srivastava: Contributor at TechCrunch.



“The more familiar you are with the data, the easier it is to spot something that seems strange. A good place to start is by looking at the raw data to see what jumps out.” – Matthew Peters: Research Scientist at Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence.

Although it may seem like a dull task, taking the time to make sure you’re collecting the best data possible will give you a significant advantage when it comes to increasing your profitability and achieving your business goals.

“Working to make sure that your organisation has the most accurate data on its clients possible can seem quite tedious. However, software tools from providers make the process of collecting accurate data simple.” – Experian.



“Each key performance indicator should be defined to measure the quality, enhancement over time and ways in which to improve a specific set of data.” – Forbes.

The main purpose for implementing a Big Data Analytics strategy in any organisation is to see an improvement in performance by turning insights into solutions that drive competitive advantage.
It’s important to measure the performance of your data analytics project by measuring it against set objectives from its inception through to completion.

“Finding business intelligence in Big Data depends on identifying strong key performance indicators that deliver high value to the business.” – Mary Shacklett: Contributor at TechRepublic.



“Demand is growing for analytics tools that seamlessly connect to and combine a wide variety of cloud-hosted data sources. Such tools enable businesses to explore and visualise any type of data stored anywhere, helping them discover hidden opportunity in their IoT investment.” – Tableau.

Data can tell you what you need to know, but only if you can see it clearly. By building a single source, 360-degree view of integrated data, your team can access and drive value from a cohesive analytic environment.

“A unified data architecture is a more comprehensive view of the overall enterprise architecture; a collection of services, platforms, applications, and tools that make the best use of available technologies to unleash the optimal value of data.” –



“How do you harness the power of software-defined solutions, and how do you get yourself ready for the next phase of your business’ IT strategy?” – Logicalis.

Implementing Data Analytics doesn’t start with technology, it starts with people.

“How can the CIO and his team introduce big data into their workflow, and how can they translate what appears to be hieroglyphics to top-level executives in plain language?” – Aberdeen Essentials.

It all starts with knowledge. This involves de-mystifying the common buzz words around Big Data and Analytics, so that your team can communicate effectively about what you are trying to achieve. The second step is to approach Data Analytics in a way that’s relevant to your team.

“Ask questions about the pain points that people feel in their everyday jobs. This presents data analysis as the solution you know it can be, rather than the burden someone else may see it as. Approach your intent to get your office on board with data analysis as a way to make the team even stronger, and a way to empower each individual to do his or her job better, and to make better informed decisions.” – Kelli Simpson: Former Marketing Manager at DataHero.


For more resources, please see below:

Data Quality Importance

Unified Data Architecture

Top Ten Big Data Trends For 2017

From Big Data To Real-Time KPIs

Setting a KPI Course For Big Data

Big Data Project: Objectives First, Plan Second

How To Maintain A High-Quality Big Data Company

Nine Tips To Improve Data Quality & Improve Decisions

The Importance of Data Quality: Good, Bad, or Ugly

Getting Your Organisation To Embrace Big Data Analytics

Merging Key Performance Indicators With Big Data Analytics

For Analytics To Be The Answer, You Need The Right Use Cases

How To Measure The Success of Your Big Data & Analytics Strategy

Data Quality & Master Data Management: How To Improve Your Data Quality

“Big Data”, Business Intelligence (BI) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Five Tips For Data Efficiency

At Contexti, we’re always looking for new ways to make it easier to work with data.

When it comes to Big Data projects, it’s all about efficiency. We’ve rounded up the five best tips on how to make it happen.



This can be a great way to reduce repetitive information, have shorter transition times and free up some storage space. The process of encoding data more efficiently to achieve a reduction in file size can happen in two ways: lossless and lossy compression.

“Lossless compression algorithms use statistic modeling techniques to reduce repetitive information in a file. Some of the methods may include removal of spacing characters, representing a string of repeated characters with a single character or replacing recurring characters with smaller bit sequences.” – Conrad Chung: Customer Service & Support Specialist at 2BrightSparks.

The great thing about lossless compression is that no data is lost during the compression process. With lossy compression, data such as multimedia files for images and music can be discarded. Lossy compression on the other hand, works very differently.

“These programs simply eliminate ‘unnecessary’ bits of information, tailoring the file so that it is smaller. This type of compression is used a lot for reducing the file size of bitmap pictures, which tend to be fairly bulky.” – Tom Harris: Contributing writer at HowStuffWorks.



“If your organisation wants to extract the highest level of application performance out of the computing platforms that it purchases, you should ensure that workloads are optimised for the hardware they run on.”- Joe Clabby: Contributor at TechTarget.

Choosing the right cloud services to achieve this requires consideration of efficiency, performance and cost advantage. A great tool for workload optimisation is the Cloudera Navigator Optimizer for Hadoop-based platforms.

“Cloudera Navigator Optimizer gives you the insights and risk-assessments you need to build out a comprehensive strategy for Hadoop success.” – Cloudera Inc.

Not only does it reduce risk and provide usage visibility, it’s also flexible and keeps up with changes in demand. “Simply upload your existing SQL workloads to get started, and Navigator Optimizer will identify relative risks and development costs for offloading these to Hadoop based on compatibility and complexity.”



Many enterprises experience the same dilemma: unified storage system or traditional file/block storage system?

Randy Kerns, Senior Strategist & Analyst at Evaluator Group describes unified storage as “ A system that can do both block and file in the same system. It will meet the demands for applications that require block access, plus all of the file-based applications and typical user home directories you have.”

With the ability to simplify deployment and manage systems from multiple vendors, unified storage architecture is growing in popularity among storage administrators who are quickly seeing the benefits of the distributed access and centralised control it provides.

An article in TechTarget highlights the key benefits of running and managing files and applications from a single device: “One advantage of unified storage is reduced hardware requirements. Unified storage systems generally cost the same and enjoy the same level of reliability as dedicated file or block storage systems. Users can also benefit from advanced features such as storage snapshots and replication.”



“Deduplication is touted as one of the best ways to manage today’s explosive data growth.” – Brien Posey: Technology Author at TechRepublic.

Data deduplication is a technique of eliminating redundant or duplicate data in a data set and as a result, maximising storage savings and increasing the speed and efficiency at which data is processed.
By reducing the amount of storage space an organization needs to save its data, you’re not only saving time and money, but you’re preserving the integrity and security of of your data. “The simple truth is that to be effectively managed, adequately protected and completely recovered, your data size must be shrunk.” – Christophe Bertrand: VP of Product Marketing at Arcserve.

Here’s how it works: “Each chunk of data (e.g., a file, block or bits) is processed using a hash algorithm, generating a unique number for each piece. The resulting hash number is then compared to an index of other existing hash numbers. If that hash number is already in the index, the data does not need to be stored again. Otherwise, the new hash number is added to the index and the new data is stored.” – TechTarget.



“Cross-channel analytics is a where multiple sets of data from different channels are linked together and analyzed in order to provide customer and marketing intelligence that the business can use. This can provide insights into which paths the customer takes to conversion or to actually buy the product or avail of the service. This then allows for proper and informed decision making to be made.” – Techopedia.

Among the many benefits of this process are understanding the impact of each channel, how they work together and determining which channel combinations get the highest results and conversions. It’s an efficient system that generates insights useful to each department within your organisation.

“Business leaders can use this information to design better process flows for customers by creating or revising customer journey maps. Meanwhile, marketers can use behavioral data from customer interactions in different channels for other purposes.” – TIBCO Blog.


For more resources, please see below:


Data Efficiency

What Are The Data Efficiency Technologies? – Performance: The Key To Data Efficiency


Data Compression

How File Compression Works

How Big Is Your Data, Really?

The Basic Principles of Data Compression

Data Compression: Advantages and Disadvantages


Cloud Optimisation

Cloudera Navigator Optimiser

Application Performance Tips: Workload Optimisation and Software Pathing


Unified Storage Architecture

Advantages of Using Unified Storage!

Unified Storage (Multiprotocol Storage)

Unified Storage Architecture Explained

Unified Storage Architecture: The Path To Reducing Long-Term Infrastructure Costs


Data Deduplication

What Is Data Deduplication?

How Data Deduplication Works

10 Things You Should Know About Data Deduplication

The ABCs Of Data Deduplication: Demystifying The Different Methods

Understanding Data Deduplication – And Why It’s Critical For Moving Data To The Cloud


Cross-Channel Analytics

What Is Cross-Channel Analytics?

Big Data Analytics: The Key To Understanding The Cross-Channel Customer

Hadoop Platforms Dominating The Market

“As a developer, understanding the Hadoop ecosystem can make you very valuable. Companies are leveraging it for more projects each day.” – Thomas Henson: Senior Software Engineer, Certified ScrumMaster & Technical Author at Pluralsight.

Over the past decade, the world has seen the launch of a multitude of ambitious frameworks and solutions aimed at tackling all your Big Data challenges, and we found which of the hadoop-integrated platforms were dominating the market.



The only platform with the native Hadoop Search engine. With high performance, low cost and advanced optimisation features, Cloudera Enterprise is among the most popular choices for enterprises who want fast, easy and secure Big Data projects.

“Cloudera supplements everything we liked about Hadoop by providing a clear path to being production-ready, ease of management, and top performance. We now have the agility to quickly react to new situations and deliver market-leading capabilities to our clients.” – CounterTack.



Internet powerhouses like Netflix, Yahoo and eBay are loving Apache Spark, having deployed it at massive scale. Known for its speed, ease of use and generality, Apache Spark supports Scala, Python and Java and boasts speed 100-times faster than Hadoop for large-scale data processing.

“Spark … is what you might call a Swiss Army knife of Big Data analytics tools.” – Reynold Xin: Berkeley AmpLab Shark Development Lead.



“Hive is the closest thing to a relational-database in the Hadoop ecosystem.” – Pluralsight.

Hive is data warehousing framework that allows for structuring and querying data using a language called HiveQL to write complex MapReduce over structured data in a distributed file system. Companies like Facebook, Qubole Inc. and Tata Consultancy Services are using this software to read, write and manage large datasets.



With big-time users like LinkedIn, Twitter and Salesforce, Apache Pig is popular for its ease of programming and customisation capabilities. It transforms large data sets with its own SQL-Like language. While applications like Hive are used for structured data, Pig is famous for transforming semi-structured and unstructured data, allowing developers to write complex MapReduce jobs without having to write them in Java.



“Not just a good general-purpose tool, but also a high-performance solution.” – Justin Kestelyn: Group Product Marketing Manager, Google Cloud Platform- Data Processing & Analytics.
Highly utilised for its efficiency and convenience, Sqoop allows developers to transfer data from a relational database into Hadoop, with significant opportunities for optimisation. Bundled with various connectors, it can be used for popular database and data warehousing systems such as such as Teradata, Netezza, Oracle, MySQL, Postgres, and HSQLDB.



The ultimate enabler of highly reliable distributed coordination in the Hadoop Ecosystem. ZooKeeper provides centralised services for configuration, synchronisation and group services.

“We use ZooKeeper extensively for discovery, resource allocation, leader election and high priority notifications. Our entire service is built up of multiple systems reading and writing to ZooKeeper.” – Konrad Beiske: Software Engineer at

For more resources, please see the links below:


The Hadoop Ecosystem:

Big Data: 5 Major Advantages of Hadoop

Hadoop: The Ultimate List of Frameworks

20 Essential Hadoop Tools For Crunching Big Data


Cloudera Enterprise:

Cloudera Enterprise – Data Sheet


Apache Spark:

What Is Apache Spark?

Why All This Interest In Spark?


Apache Pig:

Apache Pig Overview

8 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Apache Pig


Apache Zookeeper:

Apache Zookeeper – The King of Coordination


Apache Sqoop:

Sqoop – The Apache Software Foundation!

July Insights On Big Data & Business Transformation

It’s been a busy month in Big Data, and we’ve been deep in learning about what factors are driving the industry. We’ve translated our experience, research and insight into five key lessons.

Here’s what we’ve learnt this month.



“Big data has proven to be a valuable business asset, but using it to gain competitive advantage requires the right combination of strategy, technology and execution.” – Mahmood Majeed: Managing Partner at ZS Associates.

In all the excitement of implementing a Big Data strategy, It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of new technologies promising to do magical things with your data, and make hasty decisions that once integrated, can be disappointing.

To avoid this, team leaders of Big Data projects must ensure that expectations and output are aligned.

“Start by developing a strategy across the entire enterprise that includes a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish and how success will be measured.” – Harvard Business Review.



“Big Data and analytics is showing promise with improving cyber security. 90% of respondents from MeriTalk’s new U.S. government survey said they’ve seen a decline in security breaches.” – SentinelOne.

With the volume of worldwide data reaching unprecedented levels, new cyber security threats are emerging daily. To combat this, an article in CSO discusses the benefits of using historical data to identify potential cyber attacks while also predicting future events.

“Using this historical data, you can create statistical baselines to identify what is ‘normal’. You will then be able to determine when the data deviates from the norm.This historical data can also create new possibilities for predictive models, statistical models, and machine learning.”



“Because Big Data presents new features, its data quality also faces many challenges.” – Li Cai & Yangyong Zhu: Fudan University.

As data evolves, new challenges emerge which is why it’s important for businesses to develop data quality standards. With the rise of insight-driven business models, the quality of the data used is key to making the right decisions. Leaders of Big Data projects must ensure that the data is accurate for the intended use.

“Data quality depends not only on its own features, but also on the business environment using the data, including business processes and business users.” – Data Science Journal.



“The longer you take to find the data, the less valuable it becomes.” – Wired.

With recent advancements in technology, more emphasis is being placed on data agility and the importance of data-driven insights in real-time. “How fast can you extract value from your mountains of data and how quickly can you translate that information into action?” –

Ian Abramson, former Director at EPAM Systems, describes the alignment of Big Data and Agile as “the infrastructure and framework to be successful.” He then goes on to talk about how this alignment enables focus and a clear picture of how to get from A to B. “ What is the question, what is the success factor, how will we get there, and who will be involved?”

At the 2016 International Conference on Ambient Systems, Networks and Technologies (ANT), experts in the field of Big Data were asked, “ What do you think is most important in the management of Big Data projects?” Interestingly, respondents rated three out of the Four Values of The Agile Manifesto as the highest in their answers, which were: cooperation with customers, people & communication, and working with software over comprehensive documentation.



“Is the world going to become a place in which automation is everywhere yet employment is scarce?” – Michael Grothaus: The Hanbury Literary Agency.

According to KPMG’s 2016 CIO Survey, data analytics is the most in-demand technology skill for the second year running, but nearly 40% of IT leaders say they suffer from shortfalls in skills in this critical area. “Big Data training is beneficial in meeting the demands of Data Management, faster decision making, better understanding of customers and tapping into the right demographic.” – Vikrant Singh: Senior Manager at Xebia Group International.

In a recent article , Sophia Bernazzani, Marketing Manager at HubSpot says, “The fact remains that some jobs will be replaced by machines – it’s the essence of any industrial or technological revolution. The good news is; some jobs won’t be strictly replaced – they just might be adjusted to account for new technologies.”

So how do we skill-up and adopt these new technologies into our businesses? “By training those already with the company, businesses get to keep valuable team members that already have experience with the enterprise while giving them some much-needed skills.” – Rick Delgado: Enterprise Tech Commentator & Writer.

“Training employees can never be a liability. It is in fact an asset, an investment to the company.” – Big Data Trunk.


For more resources, please see below:


Data Integration

How To Integrate Data And Analytics Into Every Part of Your Organisation

Charting An Effective Big Data Strategy

Big Data: The Management Revolution


Data Quality

Beyond Volume, Variety & Velocity Is The Issue of Big Data Veracity

The Challenges of Data Quality Assessment In The Big Data Era

Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Businesses


Cyber Security

How Big Data Is Improving Cyber Security

Big Data Security Analytics: A Weapon Against Cyber Security Attacks


Data Skills

The Importance of Employee Training

Businesses And The Big Data Skills Shortage

Big Data Jobs Are Out There: Are you Ready?

The Importance of Big Data Training to Your Data Analysis Growth

10 Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Replace (and 10 That Are Safe)


Data Agility

Big Data and Agile: The Perfect Marriage

Agile Project Management And Its Use in Big Data Management

How To Succeed On Your Big Data Journey

“The world has become excited about Big Data and advanced analytics, not just because the data are big but also because the potential for impact is big.” – David Court: Director at McKinsey & Company.

Big Data Analytics is not just a project. It’s a journey, and there are steps you can take to improve your chances of success.



“How do you pick the framework that is here to stay? You don’t—because you can’t.” – Syncsort.

With rapidly evolving tools and frameworks, a challenge for businesses is to invest in applications that won’t need to be replaced in 12 months. Many are turning to Apache Hadoop for its speed and efficiency, but in an industry where change is the only constant, future-proofing Big Data Software has become a major investment for businesses.

“A recent Robert Half Management Resources Survey found that 41% of CFOs believe staying current with changing technology is the greatest pressure their accounting and finance teams face.” – Mark Sands: General Manager, Asia Pacific for BOARD International.



“Part of efficient Big Data Analytics is selecting the right platform to help you through it. But what should you look for? And do you want to build your solution, buy it, or bridge an available software with what you have in-house?” – Sherry Tiao: Content Marketing Manager at Datameer.

This is where research comes into play, and what tools and technologies you decide to integrate rely fundamentally on what problem you’re trying to solve. One of the key factors to consider is what your data platform drivers are – storage or advanced analytics?

“For organisations needing to store and process tens of terabytes of data, using an open-source distributed file system is a mature choice due to its predictable scalability over clustered hardware. However, if you’re looking to run analytics in online or real-time applications, consider hybrid architectures containing distributed file systems combined with distributed database management systems.” – Nick Millman: Data & Analytics Leader for Accenture.



“The earliest phase, where organisations experiment with and learn about their Big Data needs.” – Datameer.

This is is the initial step where the team is trying to understand what data can be analysed, who can analyse it, brainstorm ideas and identify challenges in a cost-effective and timely way.

“Typical problems encountered during the stage include missing or ill-prepared data, and the reliance on manual labor for data processing.” – Chris Raphael: Former Editorial Director & Content Strategist at RT Insights.

Experimentation is crucial for identifying problems early. It’s better to fail fast and fail cheap than to invest in the wrong platform and face disappointed customers.

“Fail often – obviously, try lots of things. As you discover what is working, do more of it. And what does not work gets cut and is not a failure, it is a learning of what does not work.” – Canrock Ventures.



“You need to know how, and why, Big Data is useful to your company.” – Talend.

What problem are you trying to solve, and what should you consider when looking for a Big Data solution? choosing the right use-case can be the difference between the success or failure of your Big Data project. Although it can be tempting to try and tackle the biggest and most complex business problem as soon as you’ve been given the go-ahead to implement a Big Data platform, the best approach is to start small.

“Go small. Very small. For example, starting with one low-key business problem and a few easily accessible datasets. If you don’t, you could unknowingly be winding down the path to failure.” – Ben Sharma: Co-Founder & CEO of Zaloni.



“At its core, data governance is about data trust and accountability, married with comprehensive data security best practices.” – Rob Marvin: Assistant Editor of PCMag.

A good data governance plan consists of a data management strategy, ongoing monitoring of data quality and selective access. “What’s the data you have, who has access to it, and how are you managing the lineage of that data over time?” Jack Norris: Senior VP of Data & Applications at MapR.

Data governance is not only used to manage risk, but also to make sure that there are as few errors as possible.“Through a proper process, companies can implement the appropriate data governance initiatives and framework, which creates structure and accountability to data.” – Desire Athow: Editor at TechRadar.


For more resources, please see below:


Big Data Projects

Five Phases of Big Data Projects

Getting Big Impact From Big Data

Big Data: Changing The Way Businesses Operate

11 Tips For Ensuring Your Big Data Initiative Succeeds

Five Big Data Challenges (Plus Free Resources To Help)

How To Turn Any Big Data Project Into A Success (And Key Pitfalls To Avoid)


Adapting To Change

8 Considerations When Selecting Big Data Technology

As a CFO, How Do You Keep Up With All The Technology Changes?

Keeping Up With Big Data Innovation Without Disrupting Your Business


Big Data Use Cases

Your First Big Data Success: Choosing The Right Use Case

How Is Big Data Used In Practice? 10 Use Cases Everyone Must Read


Data Governance

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Hottest Trends Driving Big Data In 2017

How businesses are using data is evolving, and the rise of new technology is changing data-driven projects for the better.

Here’s some of the hottest trends we’ve observed this year.



“Enterprise IT had been rapidly changing, and the Cloud is playing an ever-larger factor. Cloud technologies offer unprecedented resource and flexibility for Big Data & Data Science.” – Zmags.

With the growing popularity of cloud computing, there’s been a lot of debate about the pros and cons of moving data from on-premise to cloud environments.

“Contrary to popular belief, on-premise systems were shown to be more expensive to operate annually than their cloud-based counterparts, with the overall cost 60% higher on an annual basis – even after the first year!” – Andrew Heriot: Head of Services EMEA at Maximizer Software.

With many businesses moving to cloud solutions as a way of cutting down costs, other key reasons why they’re deciding to make the switch are simplicity, flexibility, accessibility and experimentation.

“The cloud enables new kinds of possibilities, including inexpensive experimentation that allows businesses to configure ‘best fit’ solutions that satisfy their needs.” – Vasant Dhar: Professor at the Stern School of Business & the Centre for Data Science at New York University.



“The world will create 180 zettabytes of data (or 180 trillion gigabytes) in 2025, up from less than 10 zettabytes in 2015, according to IDC.” – Forbes.

With worldwide data reaching unprecedented levels, cyber attacks have also become more prevalent. As a result, cyber security through Big Data Analytics has become a major area of investment, and businesses who treat it as an afterthought rather than a major area of concern are leaving themselves vulnerable.

“An ASX survey of the cyber risk facing Australia’s top 100 publicly listed companies found that nearly two-thirds of Australian companies see cyber breaches as an “IT issue” rather than a major business risk, and only 45 per cent of ASX 100 companies are confident in their organisation’s ability to detect and manage a cyber hacking event.” – Alice Uribe: Australian Financial Review.



“It’s not about how much data you can store and process. It’s about data agility. How fast can you extract value from your mountains of data and how quickly can you translate that information into action?” –

Businesses have shifted their focus from capturing and managing data to actively using it for business impact. To achieve this, new tools to discover and explore data are being developed for greater flexibility and speed. A great example of this would be Cloudera Altus, which our partner released earlier this year, taking the deployment of data platforms and data pipelines in the cloud to the next level.

“Our customers wanted to understand how to leverage the agility, scale, and ease-of-use offered by the cloud to efficiently and cost-effectively gain insights from their ever-growing business data.” Jennifer Wu: Director of Product Management at Cloudera.



“Having the data is not enough, I have to show it in ways people both enjoy and understand.” – Hans Rosling (1948-2017): Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet & Co-Founder of the Gapminder Foundation.

With technology advancing at a rapid pace, data visualisation is constantly evolving. A recent Business2community survey of data professionals found that the data science skill with the highest correlation to project success was data mining and visualisation tools such as Tableau and JavaScript.

“Data visualisation is the best way of engaging decision makers with a visual narrative that leads them to the insight. It also shows the quality of the data, where data is missing, and whether it’s valid with a quick, preliminary visualisation.” – Alex Lane: International Events Coordinator at Innovation Enterprise.



Forget the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Everything (IoE) is re-inventing how we do business by bringing together people, process, data and things to create new capabilities, experiences and opportunities for businesses by connecting them to more valuable networks.

“The Internet of Everything builds on the foundation of the Internet of Things by adding network intelligence that allows convergence, orchestration and visibility across previously disparate systems.” – Cisco.

With digital technology constantly improving products and services, customer expectations are raised and businesses must rise up to meet the challenge. Now that digital is embedded in everything we do, IoT is not enough.

“The Internet of Everything will re-invent industries at three levels: business process, business model, and business moment.” – Hung Le Hong: Research Vice President and Gartner Fellow.



“Big Data has become a crucial growth enabler by empowering companies with deep insights on the internal business processes along with the competitors and market. This exponential demand for data has led to the mushrooming of startups focusing on acquiring, analysing and building innovative products on top of Big Data.”- Jacob Koshy: Content & Social Media Marketer at PromptCloud.

Big Data can achieve big outcomes, but is useless without the skills to analyse it. Recognising the challenge, several startups have emerged with their own solutions to making sense of this data and turning it into actionable insights for businesses.

“When a new startup comes up with technological advancement in Big Data and machine learning, none of the big guys want their competitors getting hold of it. This along with the advantage of having the best tools to handle data makes acquiring such startups a lucrative thing to do for the bigger companies.” – PromptCloud.

Companies like Apple, Microsoft and SAP are acquiring small start-ups for competitive advantage when entering into new markets, creating new business models, and making their enterprises more customer-centric.


For more resources, please read the following links:


Big Data Trends

Top 10 Big Data Trends 2017

5 Trends Driving Big Data in 2017

Big Data Trends To Watch Out for In 2017

15 Data and Analytics Trends That Will Dominate 2017

6 Predictions For The $203 Billion Big Data Analytics Market



Five Ways to Move Your Big Data Projects Into the Cloud

The Cloud or Not to Cloud: Where Does Your Data Warehouse Belong?

Industry Experts Discuss Advantages & Risks of Shifting Data Analytics to The Cloud


Data Agility

Ready, Set, Go – How Fast Is Your Data?

Why Data Agility is a Key Driver of Big Data Technology Development


Cyber Security

How Big Data is Improving Cyber Security

Commonwealth Bank of Australia Years Ahead of Rivals on Cyber Security


The Internet of Everything

Internet of Everything FAQ

The Internet of Everything (IoE)


Big Data Startups

Why Large Enterprises are Acquiring Big Data Startups

Big Data at Work: Key Lessons from Startups and Large Firms

Five Lessons In June 2017 On Big Data Success

At Contexti, we’re always striving to learn from our own experiences and from the insights of other industry leaders.

Here are five lessons we noted from our industry peers this month:



Launching Big Data projects & making data-driven decisions requires a team with a variety of technical, business and soft skills. When working on projects, it’s important to have different voices and skills at the table. “Marketing and data teams should move closer together and explain in simple terms the likely outcomes of the insights created,” – Sherine Yap: global head of CRM at Shell.



In Chapter 1 of ‘Learning to Love Data Science’ by Mark Barlow, he shares his insight on communication, a fundamental part of any project.

“After you’ve laid out a roadmap of the project so everyone knows where they are going, you need to provide them with regular updates. You need to communicate. If you stumble, you need to let them know why you stumbled and what you will do to overcome the barriers you are facing. Remember, there’s no clear path for Big Data projects. It’s like Star Trek – you’re going where no one has gone before.”



‘Every organization seeking to make sense of big data must determine which platforms and tools, in the sea of available options, will help them to meet their business goals.’ – Nick Millman: Data & Analytics Leader for Accenture.

Nick Millman goes on to discuss the importance of the structure of data.

‘How applications consume data should also be taken into consideration. For instance, some existing tools allow users to project different structures across the data store, giving flexibility to store data in one way and access it in another. Yes, being flexible in how data is presented to consuming applications is a benefit, but the performance may not be good enough for high velocity data. To overcome this performance challenge, you may need to integrate with a more structured data store further downstream in your data architecture.’ – Computerworld (from IDG)



“What’s really important about Big Data is to understand that there’s a lot of this data, most of it’s completely worthless to the business, but there are these gems, these nuggets of information, like the fact a customer just had a baby. You want to take that information, you want to integrate it to your business decisions and make more money for your company.” – Andy Mendelsohn: Senior VP of Database Server Technologies at Oracle.



Sample, test and learn – should be the nature of your Big Data project.

“You can only fail better only if you learn from failures. And then failing is something that prompts you to move ahead.” – Pearl Zhu, Digital Agility: The Rocky Road from Doing Agile to Being Agile.


For more resources, please see the links below:

Google Books – Learning to Love Data Science by Mark Barlow (O’Reilly Media)

Marketing Magic Meets Big Data: How To Make Technology and Creativity Work Together

8 Considerations When Selecting Big Data Technology

An Introduction to Big Data – Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice

AI, IoT & Big Data Featured As Best-In-Show

It’s no secret that AI, IoT and Big Data are the three biggest technology trends, with more and more organisations responding to the challenges of innovation and relevance by integrating these technologies into their businesses.

According to SD Times 100 Award Winners 2017, a few key players are dominating the market.

Contexti is proud to announce that among the key players are our partners Cloudera and Talend, with Cloudera being awarded in this category for the fifth consecutive year.

So how is your business using digital transformation to create value today?

For more information, see the press release on our partner’s website:
Cloudera Named SD Times 100 Award Winner for Fifth Consecutive Year