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Big data is now in an incredibly important part of how many major businesses function. Data analysis, or the finding of facts from large volumes of data, helps businesses make many of their important decisions. Companies that conduct business on a national or international scale rely on big data in order to plot the general direction of their business. The concept of big data can be very confusing due to the sheer scale of information involved.  By following a few simple guidelines, even the layman can understand big data and its impacts on everyday life.

What Exactly is Big Data?

Just about everyone can understand the concept of data. Data is information, and information is everywhere in the modern world. Anytime you use any piece of technology you are making use of data. Anytime you read a book, skim the newspaper or listen to music you are also making use of data. Your brain interprets and organizes data constantly from your senses and your thoughts.

Big data, much like its name infers, simply describes this same data on a large sale. The internet allowed the streaming, sharing and collecting of data on a scale never before imaginable and storage technology has allowed ever increasing hoards of data to be accumulated. In order for something to be considered “big data” it must be at least 10 terabytes or more of information. To put that in perspective, consider that 10 terabytes represents the entire printed collection of material in the Library of Congress. What’s even more remarkable is that many businesses work with far more than the minimum 10 terabytes of data. UPS stores over 16 petabytes of data about its packages and customers. That’s 16,000 terabytes or the equivalent to 1,600 printed libraries of congress. The sheer amount of that data is nearly impossible for a human to comprehend, and analysis of this data is only possible with computers.

How do Big Data Companies Emerge?

All of this information comes from everywhere on the internet. The majority of the useful data includes customer information, search engine logs, and entries on social media networks to name a few. This data is constantly generated by the internet at insane rates. Specified computers and software programs are created and operated by big data companies that collect and sort this information. These programs and hardware are so sophisticated and so specialized that entire companies can be dedicated to analyzing this data and then selling it to other companies. The raw data is distilled down into manageable reports that company executives can make use of when handling business decisions.

The Top Five:

These are the five biggest companies, according to Forbes, in the business of selling either raw data reports or analytics programs that help companies to compile their own reports.

1. Splunk
Splunk is currently valued at $186 million.  It is essentially a program service that allows companies to turn their own raw data collections into usable information.

2. Opera Solutions
Opera Solutions is valued at $118 million. It serves as a data science service that helps other companies to manage the raw data that pertains to them. They can offer either direct consultation or cloud-based service.

3. Mu Sigma
Mu Sigma is valued at $114 million.  It is a slightly smaller version of Opera Solutions, offering essentially the same types of services.

4. Palantir
Palantir is valued at $78 million.  It offers data analysis software to companies so they can manage their own raw data analysis.

5. Cloudera
Cloudera is valued at $61 million.  It offers services, software and training specifically related to the Apahce Hadoop-based programs.

The software and services provided by these companies impact nearly all major businesses, industries and products. They impact what business offer, where they offer them and how they advertise them to consumers. Every advertisement, new store opening or creation of a new product is at least somewhat related to big data analysis. It is the directional force of modern business.

Sources:
http://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/big-data/what-is-big-data.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2013/02/22/top-ten-big-data-pure-plays/

http://www.whatsabyte.com/

 

Related:

How does Google use Python?

Top Innovative Open Source Projects Making Waves in The Technology World

Is the U.S. the Leading Software Development Country?

How to Keep On Top Of the Latest Trends in Information Technology

Information Technology (IT) tools are here to support your business in the global market. Effective communication is key for IT and business experts to collaborate effectively in search of solutions. Consulting, reaching out for help to a third-party, can bridge the gap between your business marketing experts and IT operations experts, especially with the emergence of big data analytics and its implication on the global market. Having the right consultants equipped with business knowledge and data technology expertise can make a difference.

Your marketing organization is probably familiar with digital tools and conducting global research. Its results can uncover the journey customers take to purchase your products or use your services. It can highlight the pain points and frictions that prevent their experiences with you to be delightful and amazing. Armed with this knowledge and beautiful compelling presentations, marketing executives expect that IT operations leaders will translate these insights into actions.

But people in IT operations are too involved in meeting key performance indicators that have nothing to do with the end customers. Meeting requirements of faster and cheaper don't translate very well into customer satisfaction. A classic breakdown in communication is described in a Harvard Business Review article, “A Technique to Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and IT.” The author goes on to describe how a new CIO at a bank found IT to be focused on the internal organization as their customers, rather than the real end customer. Moreover, no one was looking at the incident reports which clearly showed that incidents were increasing. And nobody looked at what these incidents were doing to the bank’s customers. The startling and scary numbers of incidents were caught and addressed and brought down from 1,000 to 600 or (40%) and later to 450 per week.

Surprisingly, these type of seemingly isolated scenarios are still being discovered within organizations presently, sometimes internally, and through third party insights such as consultants.  By engaging consultants to provide a perspective based on what they’ve experienced before, they can often bring new and innovative ideas or possible challenges to the table that an internal processes probably wouldn’t have been able to see on their own.  Often, third party input can help to provide the translation needed to go from marketing research results into actions that IT operations can understand and make sense in their high-performance culture. When companies understand and use this knowledge to reassess how to improve their customer experiences, they work backward from what customers want to achieve significantly higher improvements. 

IT and business management are more and more being asked to move away from their traditional roles, such as IT being the "technology infrastructure gatekeeper", and instead become enablers across the enterprise of effective collaboration, big data consumers, and key players in driving desired business outcomes. Marketing leaders look to technology as a way to facilitate the customer's journey and his positive experience of it, bring more clients, and meet increasingly higher loyalty goals. They rely on IT projects to enable big data-based behavioral targeting anywhere in the global market. This means projects to analyze search engine results, improve website personalization and optimization, and building of mobile applications for a more personal experience. All these are projects that consultants with their communication, consulting and technical expertise are well prepared to help in order to bridge the expectation gap between IT and other business organizations.

In order to meet these 21st-century business challenges, Information Technology organizations have been transitioning from waterfall stage-gate project management approaches to agile development. The stage-gate method applies a step-by-step approach where waiting, reviewing and approving are required before moving to the next step in the project. Agile management emphasizes collaboration, no decision hierarchies, and few people roles for making quick, customer-focused small changes over time to deliver solutions that delight and amaze customers. Agile development has allowed many businesses to respond quickly to changing customer desires and expectations. But moving to continuous delivery is a struggle requiring focused, dedicated teams that are not well suited to the traditional matrix organization where people are resources whose time must be "chopped" into many pieces and shared among many projects. Agile teams meet frequently as often as daily but never waiting more than a week to do so.

Marketing people are externally focused. IT people are internally focused. The first works with customer emotions. The second works to increase efficiency. Big data analytic tools are used by the first and supported by the second. Consultants can be the glue that helps both come together in effective collaborations that deliver positive business outcomes in both global and local markets.

People are optimistic about problem solving, but in most cases this is easier said than done. How do you do it?

In Adobe’s 2016 global study on creativity in business, 96% of people identified creativity as essential to their success, both in terms of their income and the value they bring to the world. Moreover, 78% wished they were capable of thinking differently, believing that they would progress through their careers more quickly if they did.

According to Malcom Gladwell, the world's most successful people have one thing in common: they think differently from most everyone else.  In his book, How Successful People Think, Malcom opens with the following:        “Good thinkers are always in demand.  A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss. Good thinkers solve problems, they never lack ideas that can build an organization, and they always have hope for a better future”
Too often we attribute creative and “different” thinking to natural, innate characteristics that belong only to the lucky. The truth is that you can study how ridiculously successful people think and incorporate their approach into your world.

 

Snippets and Quotes from Tech Innovators.
 

One of the biggest challenges faced by senior IT professionals in organizations is the choice of the right software vendor. In the highly competitive enterprise software industry, there are lot of vendors who claim to offer the best software for the problem and it can be really daunting to narrow down the best choice. Additionally, enterprise software costs can often run into millions of dollars thereby leaving very little margin of error. The real cost of choosing a wrong software can often result into losses much more than the cost of the software itself as highlighted by software disasters experienced by leading companies like HP, Nike etc. In such a scenario, senior IT professionals despite years of expertise can find it very difficult to choose the right business software vendor for their organization.

Here are some of the proven ways of short-listing and selecting the right business software vendor for your organization,

·         Understand and Define The Exact Need First: Before embarking on a journey to select the software vendor, it is critical to understand and define the exact problem you want the software to solve. The paramount question to be asked is what business objective does the software need to solve. Is the software required to “reduce costs” or is it to “improve productivity”? Extracting and defining this fundamental question is the bare minimum but necessary step to go searching for the right vendor. It will then form the basis of comparing multiple vendors on this very need that your organization has and will help drive the selection process going forward. The detailed approach involves creating a set of parameters that the software needs to meet in order to be considered. In fact, consider categorizing these parameters further in “must-haves”, “good to have” etc. which will help you assign relevant weights to these parameter and how the software’s fare on each of these parameters

·         Building The List of Vendors Who Meet The Need: Once you have defined your need and distilled that need into various parameters, it’s time to built the list of vendors who you think will meet the need. This is akin to a lead generation model wherein you want to identify a large enough pool and then filters your list down to the best ones. There are multiple ways of building a list of vendors and more often than not, you must use a combination of these methods to build a good enough list.

o   Use Industry Reports: We discussed the IT intelligence offered by leading industry firms Gartner and Forrester in How To Keep On Top Of Latest Trends In Information Technology. These firms based on their access to leading software vendors and CIO network publish vendor comparison research reports across specific verticals as well as specific technologies. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and Forrester’s Wave are a very good starting point to get an insight into the best software vendors. For example, if you were looking for a CRM solution, you could look for Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CRM and look at the vendors that make the list. These reports can be pricey but well worth the money if you are going to invest hundreds of thousands in the software. Having said that, you don’t have to trust these report blindly because how these firms define the best software may not match how you define the best software for your organization

o   Competitive Intelligence: If you are a smart professional, you are already keeping tabs of your competition. Chances are that if you are a big organization, you might see a Press Release either from your competitor or their vendor announcing the implementation of new software. Extrapolate that across 5-10 key competitors of yours and you might discover the vendors that your competitors are choosing. This gives you a good indicator that the vendors used by your competitors must be offering something right.

Tech Life in North Carolina

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the oldest State University in the United States. There are significant ?firsts? in this state one being, the first state to own an art museum and second was to vote in the first African-American member, Hiram Rhoades Revels, into the United States Congress. Higher education is a given with a total of 2,425 public schools in the state, including 99 charter schools.
Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea that could only have been invented in California. Edsger Dijkstra
other Learning Options
Software developers near Raleigh have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.
Fortune 500 and 1000 companies in North Carolina that offer opportunities for Python developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Branch Banking and Trust / BBandT Winston Salem Financial Services Banks
UTC Aerospace Systems Charlotte Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Winston Salem Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. Matthews Retail Department Stores
Duke Energy Corporation Charlotte Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Lowe's Companies, Inc. Mooresville Retail Hardware and Building Material Dealers
Nucor Corporation Charlotte Manufacturing Metals Manufacturing
VF Corporation Greensboro Manufacturing Textiles, Apparel and Accessories
Bank of America Charlotte Financial Services Banks
Laboratory Corporation of America Burlington Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Diagnostic Laboratories
Sonic Automotive, Inc. Charlotte Retail Automobile Dealers
SPX Corporation Charlotte Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
The Pantry, Inc. Cary Retail Gasoline Stations

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in North Carolina since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about Python programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Python experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Python programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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Interesting Reads Take a class with us and receive a book of your choosing for 50% off MSRP.