by Joanna Schloss

Big Data has finally come to fruition.  This year, the Strata Hadoop World event moved to the beautiful (and enormous) Javits center.  When I walked in, I was inspired by both the size and scope of how far this conference has come.  Gone are the days of cramming everyone onto a single floor of a NYC hotel.  With 5,000 attendees and 104 vendors, the Javits center was humming with excitement.  Big Data has finally arrived, so it seemed.

Keynote sessions were packed wall-to-wall with attendees, and full of thought-provoking and interesting content, with topics ranging from the future of big data to big data’s impact on security.    If I had one takeaway from the keynote sessions, it was the sense that, whether or not we’re aware of it, big data pervades our lives, and it does so right now, today. And we’ve really only scratched the surface. As the market matures and evolves, more challenges and opportunities will emerge, with issues like big data ethics and data privacy taking center stage.

Of the 200 sessions hosted during the event, I had the privilege of attending several. Topics for these sessions ranged from technical deep dives into big data architecture and Hadoop code and cluster management, as well as tips, tricks and best practices-oriented sessions focused on building the best ontologies and their maintenance.  In addition to the expected technical content, for the first time, many sessions focused on big data’s impact on business – looking specifically at how business users might leverage these new data environments to drive better outcomes for their organizations.  Many sessions featured end-user case studies and end-user data interactions.  The evolution of the show’s session content reflects a growing interest on the part of business and/or non-technical stakeholders in the role big data can play in their companies’ success, and is yet another indication that big data platforms have evolved past the “tire-kicking” phase of the maturity cycle.

As you can clearly see, the age of big data has finally arrived. So, what’s next, you ask? Where does this go from here?  I believe it’s all about the analytics - whether it’s big data analytics, traditional analytics, predictive analytics, or prescriptive analytics. How an organization interacts with the analytics it generates, and the investment it makes in discovering more ways to leverage the content it creates, captures and analyzes, will determine who catapults into the future with great success.