Well that was fast, on the 7th of January I talk about killing the big data hype and then 15 days later over at Gartner one of their analysts, Svetlana Sicular, has said that Big data is over the hype curve.  Cause and effect?  Probably not as if you know big data you know that correlation != causation.  I rejoice that people are realising that the technologies behind Big Data, just like the technologies behind SOA, EAI and Data Warehousing didn’t on their own deliver change so neither has a technology focus around Big Data delivered what companies wanted.  Its interesting that the blog talks about ‘Hadoop’ customers being disillusioned, at Capgemini we’ve consistently found over the years that clients who consider themselves to be technology centric in their transformation end up disillusioned that the technology isn’t the silver bullet.

Back when I was doing lots of SOA work and vendors were talking about it purely in terms of ‘Web Services’ the biggest hurdle to get people to ‘think’ in a service-oriented way was the technology.  Vendors created a myth around point and click that sounded great but was in fact at best purely marketing.  With Big Data we have seen much of the same hype with everything in the world being able to be solved by the application of Hadoop. There was a slide that I used to use to describe this error, normally its about people, process and technology but personally I add mentality as changing people or re-organising them won’t deliver the benefits if they don’t start thinking in new ways.

Technology is not change

The reality is that these new technologies add new tools to the IT toolbox and enable new problems to be solved and old problems to be solved in better ways.  But what really delivers the change is a change in how technology is used and critically how it delivers value for a business.  Learning technologies is certainly useful, like learning a new foreign language, but like with new languages its about how you apply it that determines the value you get out.  If you are planning on expanding into Brazil then clearly learning Portugese is a good idea, but its the combination of that plan and the benefits that the language give you that deliver the full value, simply learning Portugese on its own is never going to mean you get sales in Brazil if you never intend as a business on going there.

Hadoop and other Big Data technologies along with Predictive Analytics are powerful tools but you only get value when you stop focusing on the technology and start focusing on the new outcomes you want to deliver.

I’m glad the hype is over. We can now get on with the real work.