Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT

Susan Fogarty, Editor in Chief, EducationalIT.com | 9/26/2013 | 38 comments

Susan Fogarty
Big-data is on the to-do lists of enterprises everywhere, but increasing demand for appropriate skills and underlying infrastructure are putting the pressure on IT departments in Europe.

An enterprise embarking on a big-data project requires knowledge and skills from different disciplines. It must also assemble technical and business input from across an organization. Those entrusted with the project must excel at statistical analysis and information management; have mastered the multitude of technologies needed to gather, store, and search huge data sets; and fully understand the strategic and financial goals of the business.

This is generally a team effort, but companies are now putting more pressure on their IT departments to supply knowledge -- as well as infrastructure -- when it comes to big-data. According to ComputerWeekly, a recent survey commissioned by Teradata found that CEOs in the UK, France, and Germany were concerned about a lack of big-data skills and hoping their IT staff will fill in the gaps.

The impending shortage of big-data scientists has been widely publicized, and CEOs are feeling the effects, at least in Europe. More than 60 percent of the Teradata survey respondents agreed there was a data science skills shortage, and 42 percent were recruiting or planning to recruit employees in that role. However, 54 percent said potential applicants lacked the combination of business, IT, analytics, and communication skills required.

Alternatively, 46 percent of C-level executives were looking to existing IT staff to fill data scientist roles. That could be because effective data analysis depends so much on the underlying technology. When CEOs were evaluating experience, 53 percent valued technical experience most, followed by problem solving at 43 percent, and creativity at 35 percent.

Although big-data clearly presents an opportunity for IT growth, it may be expecting too much of too few. Duncan Ross, director of data science EMEA at Teradata, said that he was "surprised" at the high percentage of CEOs recruiting data scientists from the IT ranks. He told ComputerWeekly, "That's concerning because any business trend that looks to IT [to this extent] is in trouble."

While IT may be up to the challenge, it could be already overtaxed with building the infrastructure for big-data. TechNavio's "Global Big Data Storage and Server Market 2012-2016" report shows the market growing almost 32 percent annually over the forecast period. IT departments no doubt are struggling to adapt to the demand of such high growth rates, especially in the datacenter.

The report explains:

One of the main challenges is the increasing consolidation of network infrastructure. Due to consolidation, there is a problem in centralizing the storage and server infrastructure. Enterprises are looking at consolidation of the infrastructure to a single centralized location as a solution to solve the crisis.

IT is already mired in building the virtual datacenters and private clouds to perform data analysis. Should we expect IT staff to also be responsible for the data analysis itself? Let us know in the comments if embracing big-data is a burden or an opportunity for IT.

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MDMConsult   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   10/1/2013 2:27:51 PM
Re: Susan x 3 :)
New technology allows for more education, complex field work and using predictive analytics drives more growth and change in the industry. Quality of data should be important in this industry. The more sophisticated the more need for predictive as much is then determined in "real time"
Susan Fourtané   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   10/1/2013 2:33:53 AM
Re: Susan x 3 :)
Lol, Sara. :D We can take it easy. It's not an urgent matter. :) 

-Susan
User Ranking: Blogger
Sara Peters   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/30/2013 9:28:15 AM
Re: Susan x 3 :)
@Susan Fourtane  Well do you want to choose your own code names or should we choose them for you? Since you have flowers in your profile photo I of course immediately think that your name should be Flower Power. Or maye Power Flower which makes you sound a little tougher.

But I'm sure we could come up with something cooler.
Susan Fourtané   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/30/2013 1:22:05 AM
Re: Susan x 3 :)
Sara, 

Yes, I remember everything. :) Your instructor put you all Saras/Sarahs together. :D 

I think it's lovely E2 is lucky to have so many lovely Susans. :D You are really good at code names for secret agents, and superheroines. Calling us by last names sounds cold, and distant. :(  

-SusanF
User Ranking: Blogger
Ariella   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/29/2013 4:46:23 PM
Re: Susan x 3 :)
@Susan so long as you reallymean it and are not using it as a substitute for "good," it's fine. 
Sara Peters   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/29/2013 4:34:10 PM
Re: Big-Data Places big Demands on European IT
Okay here's another question... Maybe we need superb data scientists to GET the insights/answers we need, but should they be responsible for DECIDING what insights/answers we need?
Sara Peters   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/29/2013 4:31:17 PM
Re: What is an IT department, really?
@shakeeb  I'd love to know more about your friend's job, on a day-to-day kind of basis.
Sara Peters   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/29/2013 4:28:58 PM
Re: Susan x 3 :)
@Susan Fourtane  I can't believe you remember the fact that I was on a boat with all those other Saras/Sarahs. You have a mind like a steel trap, Ms. Fourtane!

As for the plethora of Susans right now, we could either just call them by their last names, or we could give them cool code names like secret agents and superheroines.
Sara Peters   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/29/2013 4:25:30 PM
Re: What is an IT department, really?
@Pablo  Well, I agree and disagree with this. As you say, "Actually I believe Big Data analysis belongs in the marketing department." I agree that some big-data analysis should be the job of the marketing department, but surely there is a LOT more to be learned from this data that has nothing to do with marketing. I certainly hope there is. I expect that the research & development team has a lot to gain from deep data analysis. And maybe also accounting?

Sara Peters   Big-Data Places Big Demands on European IT   9/29/2013 4:22:13 PM
Re: What is an IT department, really?
@Curt  Great point: "With the new emphasis on IT bringing "added value" to the enterprise, though, I suspect we'll see more IT groups embracing the analysis challenge." Do you think that universities need to step up and start adding deep data analysis classes to the computer science curricula?

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