Big Data Should Lead to Better Insights

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The Business Impact of Big Data

Many business executives want more information than ever, even though they're already drowning in it.

While there's a lot of interest and hype swirling around all things related to Big Data and Hadoop, the fact of the matter is that IT organizations can store more data cost-effectively as a means to an end.

The more significant development is going to be the arrival of a host of business intelligence and analytics applications that make that data more accessible to the average business user. Case in point is the release today of version 6.1 of Tableau's namesake business intelligence software, which now supports Cloudera's Distribution of Apache Hadoop (CDH).

The new release allows users to use Tableau to access Hadoop data to instantly create reports, data visualizations and dashboards without any programming or coding. Next year, Tableau will include a native connector as part of a Tableau 7.0 release scheduled for the winter of 2012. But with 6.1, Dan Jewett, Tableau's vice president of product management, says users can still easily access Hadoop data via a beta version of that connector or using Cloudera's SQL-compatible Hive software and ODBC drivers to create any number of reports.

Tableau is hardly the only application adding Hadoop support these days. What matters from an end-user perspective is that instead of relying on slivers of data to make decisions, end users can apply BI applications against large amounts of data, which should result in better decisions simply because there is more data to correlate.

Ultimately, it's not the quantity of data that matters as much as the quality of the decisions. But there is a connection between the quality of those decisions and the assumptions that are made when modeling the data. What Hadoop brings to the table is the ability to analyze more data in its raw format, which when properly applied should hopefully generate greater insights.