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A few Predictions for Data in 2012 - The Data Man

A few Predictions for Data in 2012

The beginning of January I wrote a blog post that gave an update to my predictions for 2011. Overall my predictions were not bad and out of a possible 80 I scored 66 which means I got approximately 82% of my predictions correct. Christmas seems a far away memory (snow has all gone and in fact it’s now April) so I felt that it was necessary to get this year’s predictions out before we end up reaching the summer.
I’m going to stay with some of last year’s predictions and add a few extra that I believe are up and coming data issues. So the ones that stay are:
1/ Data Privacy and Data Security will grow in importance
2/ Hardware and software for managing data will adapt to the data tsunami from the corporate world.
3/ Demand for Data Experts will grow but will be hampered by available resource.
4/ Data Governance will be a hot topic.
My new predictions to add to the list are as follow:
5/ Big Data
There are a couple of terms that have hit the press over the last few years and grown in recognition by senior IT and even non IT management. The first one is big data and an example of its growth can be found in the following link:
What is big data and why has it become so important? Big data can be is a general term used to describe the huge amounts of data a company creates; be it unstructured, semi-structured or structured. A few key points:
  • It’s all about being able to use and analyse these vast quantities of data.
  • The term ‘BIG’ doesn’t refer to any specific volume of data.
  • It’s generally accepted that unstructured data, most of it located in text files, accounts for at least 80% of an organization’s data.
  • If left unmanaged, the sheer volume of data that’s generated each year can be costly (in terms of storage and management) for a company.
  • Unmanaged data can also pose a liability in terms of compliances or lawsuit if it cannot be found when needed. 
Big data is important not because it represents any new idea. To be blunt we used to have VLDBMS (Very Large Data Base Management Systems) many, many years ago. What big data provides is a new way of explaining and branding the problems that organisations face. This doesn’t mean it’s not important, I actually feel that people’s ability to comprehend is just as important as technical breakthroughs.
I predict that big data will continue to grow in important as a term that senior executives can hang their hat (by this I mean use the term to justify project budgets) on.
6/ Data Scientist
The second phrase is ‘Data Scientist’. This one I struggle with a little as really all it represents is a re-branding of the data analyst role but it gets heavily confused with data architecture. I believe the re-branding is really the recognition that as data volumes and complexity grows the role of understanding and investigating the data has become larger and more important role.
7/ UK Commercialisation of data
Within the UK we are undergoing an information revolution as regards healthcare data. The NHS (UK’s government run health authority) is steadily increasing the amount of data available and the ways it can be accessed. This is all part of the UK growth strategy – on one hand to encourage investment form healthcare companies in the UK due to the availability of this type of data and secondly the government has woken up to the fact that it has a valuable asset which it should try and monetise. 
8/ Government Data Sharing
Fraud detection will go big brother. The UK government and the National Fraud Authority will take us down the road of sharing data across government and private industry to enhance the detection of fraud.
The government plans to share the personal information it holds with businesses such as banks, insurance companies and credit reference agencies. This data will in all likelihood come from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
9/ The Data Cloud
The Cloud has become big news over the last few years and I assume will grow in significance over the next. One of the growing trends is for companies to host there data systems on the cloud. Whilst I am sure this trend will grow I believe over the next 18 months the honeymoon period will end and a realisation that using the cloud doesn’t solve data problems just brings new ones. Questions such as data security, performance of environments used to host data, and contractual niceties around data ownership all start to become bigger problems.

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