It’s time to go big in extracting the value of information


It’s not as simple as saying: “I want to get into big data, so I’ll just start accessing the tools”

— Treb Ryan, Chief Strategy Officer, Dimension Data ITaaS


Big Data is Big News. And despite the offerings of “black box” algorithms (see Azure Machine Learning Marketplace as an example), it isn’t as easy as plug-and-play. In the current business environment, simply understanding what might be possible and how to get started is one of the biggest challenges for companies wanting to adopt big data technologies as described by Dimension Data in their recent article, Data Centre Trends to Watch in 2015.

While Dimension Data’s article primarily focused on data storage, there is strong cross-over into data application and big data analytics, with number 5: “It’s time to go big in extracting the value of information”.

There is one element however that I don’t see discussed very often and which is critical to early adoption of these technologies… exploration.

Even in the business world, we cannot underestimate the importance in the science of data science. Sciences have led the world in discovery and exploration – it is the nature of science, but not necessarily the nature of business. Not that there isn’t a level of exploration and discovery in the business world, simply that many businesses are hesitant to embrace the unknown or risk an exploration into uncharted territory.



Agile IT: it’s about exploring the art of the possible.

…organisations need to use technology advancements, such as cloud and Agile development methodologies, to explore the art of the possible … boldly test new ideas and approaches … and have fun.

— Treb Ryan, Chief Strategy Officer, Dimension Data ITaaS



Traditional analysis and reporting focuses primarily on what we already know, describing operational trends and patterns, summarising sales data and tracking expenses. Data mining and machine learning are all about discovering the unknown, the information buried within the data and making this accessible. Embracing these technologies will require an initial leap of faith, a willingness to explore the unknown and embrace a culture that Ryan describes as Agile IT. The scientific mind has become as important in business as it is within the sciences, and it makes the business world even more attractive to smart, inquisitive minds.


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