Use the Big Data Landscape to understand the marketplace and put your own data stack in perspective.

The sheer number of different data offerings out there can make it difficult to wrap your head around. To help clear that up, we’re sharing how we like to think about the big data landscape.

First, it helps to understand the individual tools that are available. We like to structure the landscape across three different core functions: Collect, Analyze, and Report. Many, maybe even most, software offerings include features in more than one of these three groups, but identifying the primary function of each helps you to think through your own setup for strengths and weaknesses.

No matter what your organization does, the data you work with, or problem you wish to solve, it can be summarized into one or more of these 3 steps.

Collect: The process of storing data for future analysis. Typically done in structured databases, “document” storage systems, or simply static files.

Analyze: Often the most complicated and time consuming step, but also the most valuable. This is where manual or automated effort is put into converting low value, raw data into high value insight and metrics.

Report: A well established process of presenting organized results, charts, and metrics to help business users make decisions.

As you encounter new technologies and software, ask yourself what the primary function is. It may seem simple, but identifying a new tool as data visualization software with limited analytics capabilities will help you design your own software stack and help you make decisions about who will benefit most from each tool.

We’ll follow up on the series next week!