Big & Fast Data: The Democratization of Information

December 2, 2016

Moving from the Enterprise Data Warehouse to the Business Data Lake


Data-driven insights, enabled by big data and integrated into operational processes, are delivering four key types of business value:

  • Efficiency and cost focus
  • Growth of existing business streams
  • Growth through market disruption from new revenue streams
  • Monetization of data itself, with the creation of new lines of business

Underpinning these new models are new technology capabilities that allow businesses to deliver value in line with their strategic goals. In practice, this means democratizing access to analytics so that decision-makers at all levels can create and enhance the insights that they need, posing their own “what if” questions to a rich substrate of data.

Our recent research confirms that current business intelligence technology such as the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) is not able to provide these capabilities. At best, only the most senior decision-makers have access to the insights that they need. More often, everyone is limited to structured data created within a fragmented set of spreadsheets, data marts and warehouses.

The research shows that the traditional lengthy development cycles for new insights from IT based on EDW architectures has led to businesses not only questioning those traditional processes but also bypassing IT entirely in their quest to deliver new business value from analytics.

The Business Data Lake (BDL) represents a new approach to the creation of analytical insights for the business, from the acceleration of traditional enterprise reporting through to new analytics driven by data science. The BDL works with high volumes of structured and unstructured data, storing them at low cost and making insights rapidly available throughout the enterprise. It can coexist with earlier investments, accelerating the evolution of the information landscape.

By introducing the BDL, and moving towards a more iterative and agile approach to analytics and insight delivery, CIOs can evolve their information landscape to reposition the IT function as the business’s “insight enabler”. As a result, decisionmakers at all levels of the business will be able to seize the opportunities of big and fast data more rapidly and so gain competitive advantage.

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