Dealing with Big Data – the big debate

ActiveViam |
June 5, 2012

Our industry report into the challenges investment banks face as a result of Big Data has drawn attention to a surprising in-house divide in attitudes to solving the problem.
There is clear discord between the attitudes of senior IT managers, versus systems architects/programmers, regarding the challenges of Big Data, and the ease of adopting in-memory analytics to combat it. Traditional technologies are favoured by IT managers, with 70% using data warehousing to manage their data. The same group sees the ‘newness’ of in-memory analytics technology as the biggest barrier to adoption at their bank, with 57% citing this as a significant problem. Conversely, lack of budget was chosen by the majority (47%) of systems architects as the main challenge to the use of in-memory analytics at their institution, suggesting more of a cost consciousness at ground level.

Knowledge of Board-level attitudes also differs greatly, with over half (53%) of the architects and programmers surveyed perceiving that the Board understands the benefits of in-memory analytics, and why the organisation should invest in it. Significantly, just a third (33%) of IT managers hold the same view. If it is to be assumed that those at managerial level have better insight into Board level feeling, the differences suggest that a lack of knowledge at Board level poses a major barrier to adoption – but crucially a barrier that is not recognised throughout all levels of the institution.
Despite this polarisation in views about how to tackle the Big Data challenge, the report highlights a general agreement that the technology is useful across a spectrum of business areas within a financial institution. In-memory solutions offer multi-dimensional analysis of highly volatile data, necessary to business success as data volumes increase and decision making is expected to keep pace. It is the only technology that can bring analytics closer to the user by incorporating it into those applications that run the business and operational processes. Consequently, it is only a matter of time until attitudes to technological change evolve and financial institutions respond more quickly to IT innovation.

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