The Amazing ROI of Big Data



For every professional bubble-head and bozo ‘bigging up’ Big Data there are at least ten intangible, unintelligible and phantom Big Data success stories.

Why do I write that? Simples! Because that is what we have.

From the perspective of non-IT business users, what does a real IT based success story look like?

Here’s some examples:

  • We ran a Big Data project and the end-result was increased sales and margins, which added $21M to the bottom line. The overall project cost, including cost of business disruption, was $7M.
  • We deployed Hadoop technology to identify potential influencers and purchasers on Twitter. As a result of the campaign we increased sales of the Widgets by 8% (adding $9M is revenues and $3M in profits on an investment of $1M).
  • Big Data helped us to identify and exclude significant errors of judgement introduced into our new corporate strategy. As a result we averted possible losses of more than $10M. Total cost of aversion exercise was $5M. $5M up and no egg on our faces.

These are fictitious examples of tangible benefits that might be accruable to Big Data. But, they are not factual, they are made up.

Remember this. They are not real-life stories.

Now, for some real-lifelike examples of benefits accrued from Big Data.

  • Big Data vendor strikes gold! The Big Data technology vendor GREPACLE today signed an enterprise wide licensing arrangement with the Fed for an estimated initial $750M, covering the years 2010 to 2017. The deal includes all industry-ready Hadoop “free ‘n’ open-source software” developed by GREPACLE. AWKACLE, who brokered the deal, expect to clear a $33M net profit from the arrangement.
  • OLLY-HARDY, the west coast hardware giant, has signed up WALLYCO who have handed over $60M as the first instalment for the provision of a cheap and cheerful battle-hardened commodity-hardware infrastructure that will replace the existing legacy infrastructure currently based on OLLY-HARDY MPP and SMP hardware and Oracle and Teradata software. A second contract billed to be worth in excess of $100M is in the pipe-line and is expected to be signed during the next quarter.
  • The profits of information theology research and technology advisory firm Gardening Leave jumped a clear 25% over the last three quarters due solely to sales of it’s reports and services in the Big Data domain.

The names changed, and the project details finessed, to protect the guilty, but they are three simple, clear and fabulous examples of how gold is obtained from Big Data.

However, there are many other Big Data success stories to consider, including:

  • The indentured Big Data pundits. Who wouldn’t lie for a slice of the pie? Right! But not everyone has scruples, values or even ethics when it comes to the filthy lucre.
  • The pro-Big Data press and their Big Data advertisers and ‘infomercialisers’. There still is money in getting people to advertise, big time.
  • The external service provider. The hardware may be commodity. The disk storage may be ample, cheap and cheerful. The unit cost of staff may be lower. But, you will be paying 10 times over the odds to your favourite outsourcer/offshoring business just for the privilege of having them screw up your Big Data project… 18 months down the line. You will even pick up the tab for breaches of data privacy and data protection. But don’t worry, paying someone else to make mistakes and learn on your money and time is the highest form of corporate altruism.

Well, that should give one a flavour of the direction of Big Data, of the benefits accruable and to whom the benefits really accrue.

Now here’s a thought:

Most of the success stories seem to have the sale of a Big Data project, Hadoop’s ‘grep awk ecosystem’ and ‘development’ services as its central tangible success criteria.

At best, these are dubious Big Data tech and service vendor success stories.

What tangible Big Data client benefits are there on view in the public domain? How about non-IT business Big Data ROI? Same for Hadoop ROI? Same for Big Data and Tech Stack service ROI?

What about… Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?

Oh, there aren’t any success stories like that or they are so secret that one cannot but allude to them in generic BS terms.

But, seriously? Do people still swallow that type of mendacious flim flam?

Many thanks for reading.

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