There is no denying that data is everywhere and there is a lot of it. Smartphones and other mobile devices are enabling companies to communicate directly with their customers and provide highly customized insights and services. Not only are the amounts of data increasing dramatically, but new types of data are being created at an accelerating rate. Much of this data is different both in structure and in substance, and it cannot easily be arranged into tables or transformed in a reasonable amount of time.
Meanwhile, data-driven business analytics often involves processing so intensive that even a few years ago it would have seemed inconceivable. While we have existing systems specifically designed for this type of processing, they are typically extremely closed proprietary architectures that are priced well out of reach for small and medium-sized organizations.