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February 2015, Volume 3, Number 1

Launching big data initiatives? Be choosy about the data

Thanks to open source technologies like Hadoop and lower data storage costs, more organizations are able to store multi-structured data sets from any number of internal and external sources. That's a good thing, because valuable insight could lurk in all that info. But how do organizations know what to keep and what to get rid of? It's a problem that the February issue of Business Information aims to solve.

In the cover story, SearchBusinessAnalytics reporter Ed Burns talks to businesses that have learned just what to tease from their data. Take marketing analytics services provider RichRelevance, which runs an online recommendation engine for major retailers such as Target and Kohl's. The company has two petabytes of customer and product data in its systems, and the amount keeps growing. To sift through it for shopping suggestions, RichRelevance looks at just four factors: browsing history, demographic data, the products available on a retailer's website and special promotions currently being offered. That way, it keeps its head above the rising tide of data.

And finding themselves surrounded by a sea of data, businesses are finding it's increasingly important for to know how to swim. Many turn to the waters of the data lake, hoping to cash in on the benefits the Hadoop-based data repository promises. But the data lake may not be as tranquil as it sounds, reporter Stephanie Neil writes. Data governance challenges abound, and changes in workplace culture will most likely be required to make it work.

The issue also features a brand-new column. It's insight from a CIO for CIOs. Or would-be CIOs. The inaugural installation, by Celso Mello, of Canadian home heating and cooling company Reliance Home Comfort, dishes up advice for those wishing to climb the corporate ladder to the C-level.

The issue also puts the spotlight on an IT manager at a Boston nonprofit who used the skills inherited from her political family to usher in a human capital management system upgrade. It also captures some of the wants and needs of BI professionals who attended TechTarget's 2014 BI Leadership Summit, last December and takes a look at the origins and prospects of open source data processing engine Apache Spark. The issue closes with a few words by Craig Stedman, executive editor of SearchDataManagement and SearchBusinessAnalytics, on the hard work needed to put in place an effective business intelligence process.

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