Big Data For Dummies

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Big Data For Dummies by Judith S. Hurwitz

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Welcome to Big Data For Dummies. Big data is becoming one of the most important technology trends that has the potential for dramatically changing the way organizations use information to enhance the customer experience and transform their business models. How does a company go about using data to the best advantage? What does it mean to transform massive amounts of data into knowledge? In this book, we provide you with insights into how technology transitions in software, hardware, and delivery models are changing the way that data can be used in new ways.


Big data is not a single market. Rather, it is a combination of data-management technologies that have evolved over time. Big data enables organizations to store, manage, and manipulate vast amounts of data at the right speed and at the right time to gain the right insights. The key to understanding big data is that data has to be managed so that it can meet the business requirement a given solution is designed to support. Most companies are at an early stage with their big data journey. Many companies are experimenting with techniques that allow them to collect massive amounts of data to determine whether hidden patterns exist within that data that might be an early indication of an important change. Some data may indicate that customer buying patterns are changing or that new elements are in the business that need to be addressed before it is too late.


As companies begin to evaluate new types of big data solutions, many new opportunities will unfold. For example, manufacturing companies may be able to monitor data coming from machine sensors to determine how processes need to be modified before a catastrophic event happens. It will be possible for retailers to monitor data in real time to upsell customers related products as they are executing a transaction. Big data solutions can be used in healthcare to determine the cause of an illness and provide a physician with guidance on treatment options.


Big data is not an isolated solution, however. Implementing a big data solution requires that the infrastructure be in place to support the scalability, distribution, and management of that data. Therefore, it is important to put both a business and technical strategy in place to make use of this important technology trend.


For many important reasons, we think that it is important for you to understand big data technologies and know the ways that companies are using emerging technologies such as Hadoop, MapReduce, and new database engines to transform the value of their data. We wrote this book to provide a perspective on what big data is and how it’s changing the way that organizations can leverage more data than was possible in the past. We think that this book will give you the context to make informed decisions.


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