4 lessons learned from early adopters of Hadoop

A couple of weeks ago, analytics lovers from all over Europe were brought together at the Hadoop Summit in Brussels. There were keynotes, exhibitors, panel discussions, workshops: Hadoop catered for everyone’s taste. A discussion with Hadoop user panelists from BAWAG Bank, British Gas, Daimler, ING and KPN, brought forth some important lessons learned from their use of Hadoop.

  • Don’t take too big a step at once. Start with multiple smaller projects and learn along the way. Once you start using Hadoop, you’ll discover a world of opportunities. Fred Heukels from KPN explained how Hadoop got people at his firm to be creative and come up with several ideas for deploying Hadoop to optimize processes and solve age-old problems.
  • Hadoop stops your data from “flowing” and that is a good thing. All too many brands have an overload of data warehouses. Thanks to Hadoop you can store all data in one place, extract it when you need it, perform the analysis, and put the data back in. The advantages of centralizing your data:
    • You are much more on top and aware of everything that happens with your data.
    • It’s economical. We all know the phenomenon of files being copied throughout the firm until you have maybe 50 or 60 copies of it, which takes up a lot of storage space!
    • And finally: it’s much more secure having all your data in one place.
  • Spread the word. Don’t keep Hadoop locked up in the IT department. Include the business executives. Thomas Sauer from Daimler noticed how his business partners (marketing, management, etc.) were actually getting interested in Hadoop. Consequently business and IT started working together, as they should be. By showing the business value and the use cases behind the technology, you can involve the entire company.
  • Daljit Rehal from British Gas gives some important final advice: have fun! Think about it: there are questions and problems throughout the company that you can now shape the answers for yourself. You don’t have to outsource or buy them. All you need is programmers, which - we admit - are not always that easy to find, but that’s a different story.  

The bottom line: Hadoop is an ocean - or should we say lake - of opportunities to transform your company. Explore it and enjoy the ride!