According to Gartner’s recent 2012 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, Big Data analytics is just about to hit its “peak of inflated expectations.” For those unfamiliar, Gartner’s hype cycle purports to “highlight the common pattern of over-enthusiasm, disillusionment and eventual realism that accompanies each new technology and innovation”. Meaning, when a technology is just nearing the top of the hype curve, such as Big Data is, we’re all about to be disappointed. With the big buzz around big data, what can we truly expect? Big returns or truly big hype?

Contrary to the leading analyst’s opinion, I, for one, don’t believe it’s big hype. Here’s why:

We all agree that Big Data has taken the spotlight in the technology and business scenes since it made its debut. It has excited many executives with its potential to transform businesses and organizations. The rise of data scientists (IBM’s definition of a data scientist) only attests to this. The practicality of taking Big Data from information to consumable analytics, however, has traditionally been a challenge for most organizations due to its cost and complexity.  This, however, is beginning to change.

Planning an infrastructure for Big Data analytics and implementing applications does not simply involve understanding what is new and different. The bigger challenge is in determining how to merge new insights from Big Data into existing operational information – from database and BI infrastructure to services, and end-user applications (without the huge cost). If organizations have a way to address the cost, complexity and reduce dependence on the data scientist, then Big Data is no longer just hype or a nice to have, but an actual reality.

Birst announced today Big Data Services, a turnkey Big Data infrastructure that simplifies the collection and analysis of Big Data. Big Data Services is a Cloud service that provides a complete infrastructure for business analysts to combine structured and unstructured data, thereby allowing business analysts to focus on the value of Big Data analytics instead of the underlying technology and its management.

What is different in our approach? Big Data Services delivers on the industry’s overdue need to provide easy-to-build analytic applications that deliver insights without the investment and technical complexity required for the large-scale consumption of unstructured data. Big Data Services moves Big Data out of the realm of data scientists and into the hands of business analysts and enables capabilities such as:

· Instrumentation of any internet-enabled device (e.g. laptops, cell phones, tablets)  and applications to post Big Data directly to Birst

· Transformation of Big Data analytics for consumption in standard dashboards, visualization and reporting

· Simplification of Big Data application development by providing pre-defined MapReduce routines that mask the complexities of Hadoop and MapReduce

There is clearly an intense focus on Big Data analytics and it is not going away anytime soon. Organizations need a way to apply business analytics to large data sets and a solution such as Big Data Services is the first step in taking Big Data from science to actionable analytics. Whether Big Data is associated with the enterprise systems, social media, web traffic or customer interactions, users become capable of conclusions that they cannot arrive at by examining traditional data sources. And, organizations are only just beginning to realize its true value.

Related reading:

The Big Data Opportunity: Instrumenting Your Business for Competitive Advantage