Big Data is not a myth, but it is extremely overhyped. That's the resounding sentiment among channel players.
Some executives are even feeling the need to put their hands over their ears to avoid the cacophony and the accompanying investments in the latest "must-have" corporate toys.
But if the Federal Government's recent National Commission of Audit is anything to go by there are a lot of people taking what's been dubbed Data 2.0 (akin to Web 2.0) very seriously.
The much-vaunted Commission has devoted an entire section to the role of Big Data. It has even recommended the government prioritise several Big Data projects in major service delivery agencies and increase the amount of anonymised data to be made available through Dat.gov.au. This follows the example set by the US and the UK governments.
"The commission considers the government should do more to open access to its administrative data holdings, including medical data [the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Medicare Benefits Schedule and Medicare] and welfare and social data [social security payment data]," the report said.
"At the state level, Western Australia has demonstrated that such administrative data can deliver substantial benefits with low risks, manageable costs and in ways that protect people's privacy, for example, by anonymising data before it is released."
While this would create opportunities for the private sector, most companies are looking for more granular insights and the big end of town in Australia's finance, telecommunications, retail and health sectors are bringing this to bear as we speak.
However, the common theme among Big Data vendors is that the channel has a pivotal role to play, with system integrators, "data stewards" and "data scientists" critical to its proliferation over the next decade.
InfoReady managing director, Tristan Sternson, said data was the new oil the world could not live without. It encapsulates new technology and new ways to store and interrogate unstructured data sources," he said. "It is Data 2.0, like we have Web 2.0.
"2014 is experiencing the largest uptake of Big Data to date, driven by large and complex data sets requiring immediate results."
He said social analytics of customer behaviours, for the simple solutions, and network traffic and reliability, for the more complex, were the most common projects in play at the moment. But Australia is still lagging. "Generally, we are the most advanced in Asia-Pacific, but it seems we are trailing world leaders by a good couple of years," he said.
"This is because we have a mature but small market in Australia where the reliance on data is not as critical as it is in a more highly competitive market with a larger population, so the urgency is not there as much."
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