What is this Hadoop thing? [What’s Missing From This Picture?]

Kirk Borne posted this image to Twitter today:


You have seen this image or similar ones. About Hadoop, Big Data, non-IT stuff, etc. You can probably recite the story with your eyes closed, even when you are drunk or stoned. 😉

But today I realized not only who is in the image but who’s missing. Especially in a Hadoop/Big Data context.

Who’s in the image? Customers. They are the blind actors who would not recognize Hadoop in a closet with the light on. They have no idea what relevance Hadoop has to their data and/or any possible benefit to their business problems.

Who’s not in the image? Marketers. They are just out of view in this image. Once they learn a customer has data, they have the solution, Hadoop. “What do you want Hadoop to do exactly?” marketers ask before directly a customer to a particular part of the Hadoop/elephant.

Lo and behold, data salvation is at hand! May the IT gods be praised! We are going to have big data with Hadoop, err, ah, pushing, dragging, well, we’ll get to the specifics later.

The crux of every business problem is a business and not technological need.

You may not be able to store full bandwidth teleconference videos but if you don’t do any video teleconferencing, that’s not really your problem.

If you are already running three shifts making as many HellFire missiles as you can, there isn’t much point in building a recommendation system for your sales department to survey your customers.

Go into every IT conversation with a list of your business needs and require that proposed solutions address those needs, in defined and measurable ways.

You can avoid feeling up an elephant while someone loots your wallet.

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