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Big Data Speeds Across the Chasm

Last week I visited our European team and met with customers, prospects, press and analysts to learn and talk about big data. My week in Europe confirmed my belief that we are definitely in the right business at the most exciting possible time. In a region that is rife with economic challenges, my conversations were optimistic and inspiring.

Seasoned industry people will be familiar with Geoffrey Moore’s famous curve showing the phases of technology adoption, in which the toughest challenge is ‘crossing the chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. With some technologies, this journey can take years. Many never make it across.

Technology Adoption Lifecycle

After speaking to me and executives from MapR, Cloudera and ParAccel, Brian McKenna of Computer Weekly proposes in his article “Big data analytics set to confound conventional adoption curve in UK” that big data adoption is moving relatively fast in the UK and Europe. The UK industry analyst Clive Longbottom, who I met with, reinforced this saying that big data adoption in the UK was only three months behind the US.

Of course the real proof is in what customers are doing. During my visit, our customer Carsten Bomsdorf of Travian Games presented at the Big Data Analytics conference in London about how his company uses Pentaho to analyze the behavior of its 140 million gamers to continuously innovate its award-winning products. And in marked contrast to last year, every single European customer and prospect I met with was either executing or actively planning for big data analytics.

Why is the adoption curve for big data moving faster than other technologies, even in Europe’s more traditionally risk and hype-averse markets? The answer is economic urgency. Big data analytics has demonstrated that it can help companies identify new revenue streams – even needles in haystacks - regardless of the economic climate. Quite simply big data is the ultimate tool for matching supply with demand.

If Europe’s enthusiasm for big data is anything to go on, I have to conclude that 2013 really will be the year that it starts to enter mainstream production. Fasten your seat belts - it’s going to be a wild ride!

Quentin Gallivan, CEO, Pentaho