Wikipedia defines Digital Divide as “an inequality between groups, broadly construed, in terms of access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies” and it is starting to look as if Big Data is starting to create our next chasm. But in reality are we really looking at a span that a bridge can not be built? Is it too late for the SMB market to jump in and take advantage of the power of unstructured data?
Personally I don’t think so. I am a firm proponent of not looking at Data as Big…but looking at it as what it is…Data. When a company looks to a term like Big Data it usually stirs up the massive investment and capital expenditure like Watson has done for IBM, sure there are amazing benefits but at an estimated hardware cost of about $32 million and countless hours of development time…my guess is the overall cost would be in the $50-75 million range so that it could strut its stuff on Jeopardy!
Most SMB companies can not afford even a small percentage of a Watson in their server room and the reality is…they don’t need one. I would peg about 75% of the companies that I work with have some sort of Business Intelligence program in place or planned implementation in the next 18 months…and while this is based on the Structured Data that they have gathered…nearly every company that I work with is looking to Social Media as a way of connecting and measuring their true reach…this is where the wonderful world of Unstructured Data comes into play.
They may not be looking at Big Data as a project but when you combine the Social Media Analytics and their BI project…they fall firmly into the world of an SMB Big Data project…and the reality that they will be facing is that this is not going away. Big Data or Just Data…it should all be the same. Measure twice and cut once is what my father used to say…and that is exactly what SMB companies must do to avoid the coming digital divide.
Later this week I will dive into Big Data on a Dime…some affordable tools and resources that can kick start a Big Data Project.
Chris J Powell