Any data too voluminous for you to process is big. I would classify all the names of the people I meet in a day as big data. But then my hardware is only cerebral.
It is very difficult to choose one book to read on a topic which continues to captivate some of the brightest minds today. One could head off into the deep abyss of technical texts and revel in the joy of their denseness. Or one could read about the potential applications of this newly named phenomenon which smells of something which has been around much longer. A balance between the two is difficult for that would involve reading a book written by more than one author. That as we know and appreciate is, without the help of the content, difficult.
Big Data @ Work is essentially the starter pack for that techno functional middle rung manager who might want to back his desire to bring big data to his organization with actual needs. With abundant examples from varying industries this book outlines the needs and benefits of and strategies for implementing Big Data solutions for an IT or IT enabled organization. This is not a work which would greatly benefit anyone on the far ends of the technical managerial spectrum in an organization. The CTO, CIO or your average developer shall find little solace in the general lack of depth in this text. While the examples and instances of companies deriving benefits from business intelligence and analytics are abundant seeing such opportunities in one’s own organization; is not amply explored. This book suffers from the efforts to remain relevant in a subject that changes with the frequency oh fashionable haircuts.
The major hurdle for the technologically challenged organization (what else will you call a large enterprise which has not yet invested in Big Data?) is perhaps calculating the ROI for all that they spend on talent and infrastructure for modern data systems. Also while technologists remain adept at mining data they may be lacking in figuring out what to mine and to what end. The book works in this direction to clarify as to what technologists can do individually and what technocrats can get them to do collectively. It speaks of what kind of people to hire and what kind of a culture to cultivate in an organization wanting to harvest information and draw conclusions from it. Big Data @ Work is perhaps best suited for that middle tier manager who wishes to inject new zest and drive into his firm by tapping one of the most visible information industry trends. It offers the promise of leadership of those below him and showing enterprise to those above, in an organizational hierarchy. It should be looked as a light of inspiration to embrace large sets of data and the desire to conquer them rather than a guide book on how to do so.