Find the value in 'big data' stores with enterprise search technology

"Big data" is sometimes thought of as large amounts of unstructured information being collected -- and analyzed -- in near real time. That data continues to flow into organizations from everywhere, and "everywhere is a very big place," said Cathy McKnight, a founding partner of Digital Clarity Group, a research and advisory firm focused on digital content technologies. Enterprise search, she said, can help.

An increasing number of organizations are scouring the Internet, email, rich data files, tweets and Facebook posts, and often saving that information, in an effort to determine how consumers feel about their products and develop new avenues for business.

The information and content management professionals tasked with the job of keeping track of all that data can use all the help they can get when it comes to storing, sharing and making use of the information once it's in-house.

This webcast, introduced by Jonathan Gourlay, site and news editor for, and presented by McKnight, explains the information explosion. It makes the argument that organizations interested in remaining viable in the future must get a handle on how well and how quickly they can analyze data. It explores the potential role of enterprise search in pinpointing, retrieving and finding the value in information stored in big data systems, like Hadoop clusters and NoSQL databases. That value depends largely on whose lap it lands in and how quickly they can analyze it, McKnight said. She explained the key to effectively unlocking the intelligence in the vast collections of complex data depends largely on designing search tools that are easy to use and closely aligned with business needs.

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This applies to all sorts of organizations, McKnight said, explaining that search technologies are not simply the purview of large businesses, but that government agencies as well as small businesses are using them effectively, too.

"Enterprise search can help [organizations] navigate the sea of big data and make it more usable for the everyday business user," she said. Data often loses value almost as quickly as it's produced, McKnight said, and therefore "the way we analyze it needs to mature quickly."

The process of transforming Hadoop data sets and drilling into data stores for insights can be optimized with enterprise search technologies. Finding all the relevant data on a particular subject should be as simple as entering a single term in a search field, McKnight said. Instead, she added, results are often determined by what someone else thinks should be accessible and this needs to change. With proper planning and a serious effort to develop the right skills, enterprise search can enable unique views into data that might not be possible otherwise.

Viewers of this webcast will learn:

  • Why accessing big data stores and conducting analysis is one of a knowledge worker's greatest challenges;
  • Why "search" means very different things to different organizations;
  • How the ability to search, sort and review big data stores effectively will lead to improved productivity, increased competitive advantage and improved product development;
  • Why big data is growing bigger by the day and the looming information boom is going to demand even more speed and storage;
  • How a shortage of skill sets among analysts and data managers in the U.S. and a deficit of people who understand big data and how to work with it on an organizational team is going to be a huge risk.

About the presenter:
Cathy McKnight is a founding partner of Digital Clarity Group, a research and advisory firm focused on digital content technologies. She works with clients to become more successful by helping them find the content management approach that fits the organization best. McKnight is a consultant, strategist, analyst, speaker and writer on topics related to internal online solutions, enterprise social media and digital content technology.

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