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Big Data Fans: Don't Boil The Ocean

Been reading up on big data? Maybe wondering if it's time to jump on the ol' Hadoop bandwagon, hire a data scientist or two, start stockpiling petabytes of information, and then... Then... what?

If you're building a big-data platform, but aren't sure why, you're asking for trouble. So says Joel Young, chief technical officer of Digi International, a provider of machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless sensors and cloud solutions for a variety of enterprises in energy, medical, transportation, and other industries.

In a phone interview with InformationWeek, Young says organizations face two key challenges when undertaking a big data project. Number one: Not having a clear understanding of what you're trying to accomplish.

"You end up with a boil-the-ocean strategy," says Young. He cited people who say to him, "'You know what? I've got to get involved in this Internet of Things. We're going to start collecting data because data is powerful and I'm sure we're going to gain a lot of insights from it.'"

When he hears that, "it's like a red flag," he says. "It's like, okay, let's back up here. What is the biggest problem you have? Why do you want to collect all this data? What kind of insight are you looking for? Just saying 'insight' and 'innovation' is a wonderful thing, but first and foremost you need to focus."

The full article by Jeff Bertolucci on The Information Week