BI Summit Roundup: Big Data Confusion Reigns

The Gartner BI Summits are an ideal venue to connect with vendors and end users not just in BI, but also the general Big Data space. Last week in Las Vegas I led two great roundtable discussions on the the Big Data Ecosystem. Interest was high: I was supposed to have a total of 28 attendees, but had 43. End users were happy to sit on the floor just to be part of the discussion.

The roundtables were also a great opportunity to collect some data. Clients are always interested in what other people are doing. The most revealing question was the current status of Big Data deployments:

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For all of the massive hype in the marketplace, only 12% (that’s 5 people) are in production. Even defining what “production” meant was challenging. If your Big Data project is impacting business processes or results, congratulations – you’re in production.

The core takeaway from the discussions was confusion. End users, particularly those on the business side, have difficulty differentiating between vendors, especially in the Hadoop space. There is also growing exhaustion around the data warehouse replacement marketing message. While some companies may be interested in exploring alternatives to their current data warehouse, most see a Hadoop-based solution as additive to what they’re running today.

Hadoop distributions have already started their descent into the Trough of Disillusionment according to the 2013 Hype Cycle for Big Data. This increasingly negative sentiment will likely push Hadoop distributions along the Hype Cycle curve in 2014.

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