Across industries and companies, a sizable number of big data applications now in the proof-of-concept (POC) stage are poised to enter full-blown production status during the second half of 2014. A number of factors are aligning to support this broad-based move from big data POCs to production apps. These include:
According to a Forrester survey, 70 percent of IT decision-makers say big data analytics will be a key priority in 2014. The organizations these IT leaders represent hope to expand the breadth and power of their analytical decision making for competitive advantage.
However, the coming migration of big data apps to production status can pose significant challenges to the people, processes, and technology of the organizations that are deploying them. The following best practices will help businesses successfully navigate these promising but uncharted waters.
The major objective of a POC is to gain the knowledge and experience that will ultimately support a production roll out. But within a relatively short period of time that experience will dissipate unless it's been systematically documented.
Good documentation usually takes two forms: a set of best support practices for IT and a user manual for business users.
Don't underestimate how important this is for a successful big data deployment. Clear, comprehensive documentation boosts the confidence of support personnel and business users by answering many of their routine questions. And this, in turn, increases their productivity as they come up to speed with the new application.
While big data applications have a number of unique characteristics, they should not be viewed in a silo. IT professionals should seek to leverage existing practices, architectures, and expertise wherever possible, treating big data as one more application in the corporate portfolio.
At the same time, big data applications do place additional stresses on a company's IT resources. One cost-effective way to manage these is by partnering with a reputable managed service provider that brings infrastructure management and big data integration experience to the table.
As companies migrate their big data applications from POC to enterprise-wide production, they will quickly gain experience with Hadoop 2 and other big data tools for the enterprise, refining their data integration practices in the process. Early success will foster grander ambitions as businesses seek to utilize all the data at their disposal for competitive advantage.