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Big Data and its Big Impact on Federal IT
Big Data has arrived and is shaping federal IT today. In the digital age, enterprises must manage data that’s bigger in size, bigger in volume and bigger in variety.
The buzz about Big Data among federal agencies is just as big, and so are the myths. While most federal agencies know that traditional methods of storing, accessing and analyzing data are breaking down, many are uncertain about how to develop and implement a Big Data strategy. The first step is to break through the buzz and break down the myths to identify what’s real and what’s not—and unlock new opportunities.
Data today is everywhere, and it is changing everything. Structured, unstructured and semi-structured data is in documents, websites, social networks, mobile channels and relational databases—and more. It’s culled from countless sources, including internal file networks, data centers, sensors, other agencies and the cloud. It’s created at a rapid-fire pace. And it all must be prioritized, managed, stored, exchanged and acted on at speed.
As part of this change, Big Data is creating big challenges for every sector, including the US federal government. The rise of Big Data is making significant impacts on the federal government’s ability to manage data, make appropriate decisions and provide necessary services to stakeholders. All this presents complex challenges that must be addressed. Yet if harnessed correctly, Big Data is poised to truly change the way that enterprises and governments work.
A flurry of Big Data activity has begun across the federal community, impacting federal agencies of all areas of focus.
The Obama administration has announced a $200 million Big Data initiative. The U.S. Department of Defense is investing $250 million annually. Federal agencies—including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, NASA, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and National Security Agency—all have Big Data programs underway.
To make the most of these investments, agencies must move past common Big Data myths so they can appropriately manage the technology stack and the data lifecycle for more informed, data-driven decisions.
Myth 1: Big Data is someone else's problem.The truth is that there’s no escaping Big Data. No matter what kind of system a federal organization has—legacy, in-house, public or private cloud—the organization has a Big Data problem.
Myth 2: Big Data is only about size.It is true that size matters. But Big Data is much bigger than just size.
Myth 3: Big Data is solely a technology issue.Federal organizations must adapt technology solutions to manage the unprecedented influx of Big Data. But technology is only part of the solution. Advanced analytics are non-negotiable when it comes to making meaning of and extracting insight from data.
Myth 4: Government can't learn from private sector Big Data solutions.Agencies often believe their situation is too “different” for them to take Big Data lessons from the private sector. But they can—and should.
Myth 5: There is a silver bullet to solve the big data problem.With the complexity of managing unprecedented amounts and types of data from an unprecedented number of sources, it should be no surprise that there is no single solution to the Big Data challenge.
June 7, 2012
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