Big data is big news these days, promising extraordinary insight into a company’s business performance against forecasted performance in as close to “real time” as possible. All that structured and unstructured data flowing in from internal and external sources can hasten decisions to quickly seize opportunities and avoid risks.
Within big data is a subset of data analytics called hot data — the vital information business leaders need before all other bits and bytes beckon. “We use the term to describe a decision that has to be made within a very tight window, such as today, tomorrow morning or at the very latest, the end of the week,” says Michael Lock, vice president and principal analyst for business analytics, at the research firm Aberdeen Group.
This window can even be smaller, such as a decision that has to be delivered within an hour or even right now. “As the speed of business becomes breakneck, the time to make decisions is moving closer and closer to ‘real time’ all the time,” Lock says. He cited the example of monitoring a new product for quality defects as it comes off the manufacturing line. “If there is a problem, you want to know it now,” he explains.
“Hot data is a hot topic,” agrees David Jonker, senior director, product marketing, big data, at technology vendor SAP. “People tend to fixate on big data and these giant data warehouses that strain from the storage overload, but from my perspective the key for a business is to be able to access the most important data as quickly as possible — the stuff so hot it will singe your fingers.”
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