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Big data goes beyond IT

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Big data is a concept that every company should be striving to embrace. However, just having mounds of data is useless. It needs to be properly analysed and sorted before it will offer any use to a company, says GARY ALLEMANN, MD of Master Data Management.

Big data is one of the most significant trends currently affecting organisations. As data volumes have continued to grow, enterprises have been challenged with the task of storing and managing it effectively. However, the value of big data can only be leveraged if organisations move beyond IT-driven storage to business-driven analysis of data for insight and competitive advantage. As enterprises begin to realise the potential value and importance of big data, so the trend has moved from an IT issue to a business problem. Big data projects are increasingly being driven not by the IT department, but by business departments looking to harness data to solve specific business problems. To cater to this demand, the big data role needs to shift away from data science toward business analysis, and technologies such as self-service big data analytics are growing to address this changing need.

Research conducted in Europe and the US, by big data pioneers, Datameer, showed a shift in ownership of big data initiatives over the second half of 2014. In a webinar titled Big Data Predictions for 2015 they noted that “there was a marked shift in investigating big data offerings from IT to business.  In the second half of the year business executives far surpassed their IT counterparts”.

As big data technology matures the focus is shifting from understanding the technology to realising the business value. Big data has the potential to deliver significant business insight in multiple areas, including identification of new trends, advanced customer profiling and more. As such, many organisations are focussing on empowering the business to become more big data driven.

Big data requirements are being driven by specific business cases or problems that require timely, accurate answers. As a result, organisations are now beginning to ask how they, from a business perspective, can use technology appropriately to achieve business goals through the analysis of big data in business time. The long development life cycles typical of enterprise data warehousing projects simply are unacceptable.

This shift to the business is also moving big data away from the pure ‘science’ approaches. The much hyped “data scientist”, once seen as the sexiest job of the 21st century  making way for the more value-driven role of the business analyst. The shift is evident – analytics is no longer viewed as a technology function, but rather a business function that needs to cross the boundaries between IT and business. As a result, the importance of involving business-focused staff such as analysts and managers is becoming clear. Bridging the business-IT gap is essential and business staff must be more directly involved in big data analytics. The data scientist will survive, for specialist analytics that require their unique combination of skills, but day to day analytics is shifting to the business.

The governance and integration of big data from multiple sources into a single usable format remains a challenge. This, as well as the current mind-set shift, is driving a new technology trend – the emergence of self-service analytics, which makes relevant information available to business for faster time to insight. In addition, self-service big data analytics frees the IT department from the provision of information, enabling them to address other areas that will enable the organisation to make better use of big data assets.

In an IDC Analyst Connection report, Datameer posed several pertinent big data questions to a top big data and business analytics analyst at IDC on behalf of its customers. To read the report, download the white paper here: http://info.datameer.com/IDC-Self-Service-LOB.html

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entires via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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