No wonder the position of data scientist is one of the hottest jobs in IT. According to a McKinsey report published last year, the demand for people with the skills necessary to perform big data analysis will outstrip supply by a huge margin in just a few years.
Yet it's impossible to ignore that big data is also overhyped. We're at an early phase when dozens of startups with dubious value propositions are flying the big data flag -- and when most enterprise customers are merely experimenting with tools like Hadoop. I got that distinct impression last week when I spoke with Scott Gnau, who heads up R&D for Teradata, a business intelligence vendor that has been steadily moving into the big data space, particularly with its acquisition of Aster Data last year. Of the early experiments conducted by enterprise customers, Gnau said frankly: "I don't think a lot of people are coming back with answers yet."
At the same time, Gnau echoed what Andrew Lampitt wrote in his first Think Big Data post: Someday "big data" will simply be called "data." After all, organizations have tried to use the vast quantities of data accumulated by computers to support decision-making since the days when IBM mainframes began processing transactions. Data may be growing faster than ever before, but the tools to accommodate it have arrived, and as they mature we'll get used to handling them.
Meanwhile, as early adopters exploit vast new stores of data, we hope to bring their efforts to light -- and highlight visionary applications. That plus the latest news and reviews will be the essence of InfoWorld's new big data channel.
This article, "Unlocking the value of big data," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog. And for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.