Barbapapa and the diamond in the haystack

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Last weekend my daughter suddenly said: “You know what dad? You kind of look like Barbapapa. He is also big, pink and bald”. Well, you have to give her credit for courage or maybe to me for publishing this online. I thought the Barbapapa cartoon were no longer broadcasted but as it turns out they […]

Last weekend my daughter suddenly said: “You know what dad? You kind of look like Barbapapa. He is also big, pink and bald”. Well, you have to give her credit for courage or maybe to me for publishing this online. I thought the Barbapapa cartoon were no longer broadcasted but as it turns out they are still pretty popular. It’s about a number of creatures that can take on any possible shape or form: fat, small, short, long, round, square. My daughters remark made me think. Not so much about my bald head but funny enough about a completely different subject: big data. In my mind big data looks about the same as Barbapapa or ‘The Blob’ (an old science fiction movie about aliens that eat anything they encounter and they keep on growing and growing).

Much has been written already on this subject. So most people are pretty aware of the implications. There is more and more data and from this we want to find relevant information faster and faster, preferably in real time. Quite a challenge.  It is the proverbial needle, or should I say diamond, in a haystack. But just like Barbapapa big data can take on any shape or form. It can be structured data coming from our own transactional system but also unstructured data from documents, e-mails or websites. Data that more often can be found rather outside than inside our own organization. Traditional BI is not much suited for this. This means that we need to innovate to deal with this issues. Luckily this is happening. We see a rise in all kind of modern technological solutions. Just think about such things as: solid state disks, 64 bit in memory technology, datawarehouse appliances with massive parallel processing. Also in software nice things are happening, especially around data integration. Innovative new players and methodologies arise. A great example how you can find structure in unstructured data for example is ontology based text searching that many product vendors now incorporate in their solutions.

All these IT developments serve only one true purpose. To create more added value to the organization and as such close the gap between IT and business a little bit more. Great developments that I will continue to follow.

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