Big data has been a focus for many companies in the past few years and the market is expected to grow further at a compound annual growth rate of 32 percent in the next four years. However, according to Mark Quinn, CTO of software provider TIBCO, big data analytics relies too much on historic data and has failed to match the speed companies require to make quick decisions.

At the TIBCO Transform event in Paris, Quinn told delegates that a shift in outlook is required; big data is not as relevant as ‘fast data’, a term coined to describe a different approach to analytics.

“The challenge with big data is that it has not gained relevance to your everyday life and to the operational decisions you are making on a daily basis,” Quinn said.

“It may improve things, or point out inefficiencies in your business model, and it may point out opportunities, but the problem is that you are finding a needle in a haystack once.”

“What ‘fast data’ is all about is being able to find the needle in a haystack again and again, based on unique circumstances and the context in real-time, at that particular moment of interaction.”

For TIBCO, the future of big data is fixed with real-time analysis. As such, the fast data idea means combining data from a range of business systems – from business applications to cloud services and mobile devices – and bringing these together to perform event processes and analytics to deliver meaningful information to companies. “Given today’s pace of change in business, the ability to act in context right now is more important than seeing that you should have done something different six months later,” Quinn added.

Interestingly, Quinn carefully pointed out that fast data will not replace big data, but that it is the “next step in the evolution and revolution that was started with big data.”

Over the next few months and years, we should expect TIBCO to follow with this line of reasoning. In April, the company bought business intelligence provider Jaspersoft for $185 million, and is expected to expand its focus beyond traditional application integration products and into events processing, analytics, social and data vizualisation.

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(Image Credit: Paul Downey)

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