Bringing Hadoop Into Your Business

Categories: Corporate General Open Source Software

Last week, I had the opportunity co-host a webinar with Forrester analyst, Brian Hopkins.  During the talk we discussed the challenges organizations face when looking to bring Hadoop to the enterprise, and explored some useful techniques that can be used to simplify the process.  To summarize, we presented three central questions that need to be answered when looking to adopt Hadoop:

What is the business value of Hadoop?

From Forrester research, Brian pointed out that 60% of organizations surveyed pointed to increasing revenues and improving customer experience as their strategic business initiatives within the next twelve months.  It should follow suit then, that when looking to get your business excited about the potential of a new technology such as Hadoop, it’s important to tie the impact directly to these business initiatives.  Doing so will increase the likelihood that you can attach to a problem area that is of high importance to the business, and subsequently have better chance of getting buy-in from across multiple stakeholders.

For my part, I pointed out that it’s also important to recognize that not all organizations are created equally, and that in some circumstances the business opportunity lies elsewhere.  Looking across the Cloudera customer base, we generally see business opportunity falling into one of three categories:

  • Customer and channel: how can we optimize customer interactions across channels so as to maximize revenue potential and create the best customer experience?
  • Product and services: how can we streamline operations, assess product consumption in real time, and drive the most efficient business processes possible?
  • Security, risk and compliance: how can we securely meet risk and compliance policies, while upholding the core ethics and governance values of our business?

How do we make Hadoop a business strategy?

Brian then went on to discuss explore the idea of focusing on the business priority, with recommendations for how to spot those critical IT projects that are being delivered in conjunction with the business transformation your organization looks to deliver.  Brian suggested that the Hadoop agenda is driving too heavily by IT today and that a better balance needs to be struck whereby business becomes a central part of the decision.

Similar to what we discussed in the first section, the key here is to look for business value, only do so in such a way that it is quantifiable.  Understanding how we can drive improved marketing conversion through a better use of data, and further understanding how that improvement impacts revenues is a key step in getting the business to sit up and pay attention.  Simply put, find ways to put the impact in the terms that your business stakeholders live day in and day out and that they can relate to.  By talking about how a new technology such as Hadoop can impact your business’ customer 360 or fraud strategy you’re more likely to gain acceptance of the need for a new approach.

How does one implement Hadoop strategically?

Finally, we discussed some ideas on taking a strategic approach to the actual deployment of Hadoop within your organization.  I discussed how a crawl, walk, run approach is appropriate so as not to bite off more than your IT team can chew.  Cloudera customers that deploy Cloudera Enterprise as an enterprise data hub have done just that, and tell us it’s a key component to near term wins and long term success with any Hadoop deployment.   The approach requires taking into consideration:

  • The data team: successful big data projects include representatives from IT, data and business
  • Adopting an agile approach: successful big data projects break the process down into simple steps of collecting, creating and managing; data discovery and exploration; and, operationalizing analytics
  • Iterating for success: adapting to any ongoing business changes, as they occur

I hope you find these three recommendations useful for navigating deployment of Hadoop in your business.  If you missed it, a replay of the webinar is available on


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