A few weeks ago I did an interview with ZDNet’s Andrew Brust about the state of services around big data technologies in the enterprise. Having received numerous emails about the topic, I decided to make it the subject of several posts in this blog.
Undoubtedly, big data technologies are enjoying a growing adoption in the enterprise. With the exponential growth of relevant corporate data sources and the commoditization of many industries, the ability of intelligently understanding business data has become one of the key differentiators for many companies. However, we should be conscious that this initial spike is mostly dues to technology early adopters and it’s far from indicating that big data technologies will become mainstream in the enterprise. Quite the contrary, in my opinion, if big data technologies are unable to break through this initial inflection point they will never see wide adoption beyond this group of forward thinking companies.
Like any other complex technology, big data is at a point in the technology adoption cycle that requires a healthy implementation partner ecosystem and developer community to fully capture the enterprise market. While the big data product ecosystem is certainly getting crowded, the population of solution implementers around big data doesn’t seem to be growing at the same speed. In that sense, customers find themselves without many options to find the right guidance and talent when comes to implement big data technologies. In a recent big data market study, it’s not a surprise to see IBM at the top of the big data vendors list based on the revenue produced in 2011. As much as we love Big Blue, we all know that any sector on which IBM dominates is far from becoming mainstream.
From my standpoint, in order for big data technologies to break passed this initial adoption inflection point in the enterprise, the ecosystem needs a few things:
- Enterprise developer community
- Services vendor ecosystem
- Killer development and operational tooling
- Vertical Solutions
- Horizontal Solutions
Of course, growing each one of the aforementioned areas is a monumental task that requires the collaboration of the big data product vendors and some of the forward thinking services organizations. At this point, the big data battle in the enterprise is not so much about capturing the market as it is about growing the market.
If the industry does not quickly evolve in this direction, we are likely to see quick market consolidation on which the top big data technology vendors get acquired by the traditional enterprise big boys such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, EMC, SAP, etc which will likely kill the innovative spirit of big data technologies.