Big data is booming, but context is king

The big data phenomenon is something that we at F5 Networks have been banging on about for a while now – after all the network plays such a vital role in ensuring businesses really get the most out of big data by letting that information flow freely.

One of the drums we have been constantly beating is that context is king; analysing big data is one thing but applying context to it, by tying together information from multiple sources, is the best way of really understanding it.

A report from the team at Gartner recently revealed that 42% of IT leaders have already invested in big data technology, or are planning to do so over the next 12 months. Interestingly the report added that a better understanding of big data – such as what it actually is and the benefits it can bring to an enterprise – will continue to drive adoption of these analytical technologies.

An article on Computer Weekly said the report went on to state that: “Organisations are becoming aware that big data initiatives are critical because they have identified obvious or potential business opportunities that cannot be met with traditional data sources, technologies or practices.”

It’s great that businesses are identifying where big data can improve their decision making but as we keep saying that is just one step of the process. For a business to achieve decent return on investment (RoI) from its big data initiative there are many other aspects to consider.

One of the most important is getting the right infrastructure in place to ensure all that data can get from where it resides to where it needs to be without any hiccups. Many of the services that will be collecting the data – such as social media sites, CRM systems and so on – and the platforms to analyse them are hosted in the cloud.

This means application delivery becomes more important than ever; it helps all that traffic flow around the network, getting it from where it originates to where it’s analysed and finally to where those insights are acted on. That’s how to get the best out of big data, and where IT bosses should focus at least some of their energy when looking into big data technologies.

As big data matures from a massively-hyped buzzword into a technology that can actually benefit businesses it is vital that companies don’t ignore the context of all the data they are collecting and analysing. The best way to do that is to ensure the right applications are allowed to work as they should. That is the best way to ensure truly user-centric information in the era of big data.

Published May 02, 2013
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