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IT Challenge: Is big data worth the hype for manufacturers?

In this IT Challenge, find out what big data is and whether or not manufacturers should be looking at it.

The IT Challenge of the Month for July 2012:

I’ve heard a lot of talk about "big data" at supply chain conferences lately. Is big data really relevant to manufacturers? Is it just a buzzword, or should I be paying attention?

Do you have a solution to this challenge? Have you encountered a similar issue at your business? If so, please contact the editors and share your suggestions or experiences. 

IT Challenge respondents will receive a free copy of a new book from SAP Press.

And be sure to check back here all this month -- we'll be posting solutions from experts and readers as we receive them.

From industry expert and author Steve Phillips:

BI solutions have been around for a long time and have proven worth the expense for many companies and, hopefully, vendors will continue to make these tools better. However, is big data truly a paradigm shift for most companies? Probably not.

The expense of storing even large amounts of data today is a fraction of what it was a decade ago. Most companies that use data warehousing or analysis tools store and retrieve the data on dedicated servers. These servers can be scaled up to become very robust and are getting faster all the time -- though the introduction of cloud computing could have an impact in this area.

How much data do you really need? The business environments of most companies are changing so rapidly that data more than six or seven years old could be meaningless from a decision-making standpoint. Like looking in the rearview mirror, it does not help you much moving forward.

I am not saying big data is a buzzword, because there are organizations out there that have such extreme amounts of relevant data they could justify more capable technologies. However, these companies are not the norm and most are probably not manufacturing companies.

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