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Data Divination: Big Data Strategies 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1305115088
ISBN-10: 1305115082
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Pam Baker is a noted business analyst, tech freelance journalist, and the editor of the online publication and e-newsletter, FierceBigData. She has written numerous books, and her journalism appears in a variety of publications, including Institutional Investor, CIO, and many more. A former analyst for VisionGain Research, headquartered in London, Baker has conducted and authored several notable market studies on technology, and she has served as a researcher, writer, and managing editor for ABI Research, headquartered in New York.

Bob Gourley is the Editor-in-Chief of CTOvision.com and the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm. Formerly, he was the first Director of Intelligence at the Department of Defense's cyber defense organization JTF-CND and served as the Chief Technology Officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Gourley has published more than 40 articles on a wide range of topics and is a contributor to the book Threats in the Age of Obama. His blog, CTOvision, is now ranked among the top federal technology blogs by WashingtonTech.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 1 edition (August 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1305115082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1305115088
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You’ve gotta read “Data Divination: Big Data Strategies,” Pam Baker’s new book about Big Data.

Actually, let me change my recommendation. If you are a techie and you are looking for suggestions on how to configure your Hadoop installation or optimize the storage throughput in your NAS array, this isn’t the book for you. Rather, this is the book for your business-side manager or partner, who is looking to understand not only what Big Data is, but really really learn how to apply data analysis to business problems.

One of the challenges with Big Data is simply understanding it. The phrase is extremely broad and quite nebulous. Yet behind the overhyping of Big Data, there are genuine use cases that demonstrate that looking at your business’ data in a new way can transform your business. It is real, and it is true.

Baker, the editor of the “Fierce Big Data” website, deconstructs the concept by dispensing with the jargon and the, well, overly smug Big Data worship that one finds in a lot of literature and pushed out by the vendors. With a breezy style that reflects her background as a technology journalist, Baker uses clear examples and lots of interviews to make her points.

What will you learn? To start with, “Data Divination” teaches you how to ask good questions. After all, if you don’t ask, you won’t learn anything from all that data and all those reports. Whether it’s predictive analytics or trend spotting or real-time analysis, she helps you understand which data is valuable and which isn’t. That’s why this book is best for the executive and business-side managers, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of your enterprise’s Big Data investments.
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A very confusing read with plenty of words (400+ pages) but usable content is lacking. What was the purpose of this book? Is this a book on big data strategy? That is what the title suggests but there is no content to defining, framing or developing a Big Data Strategy. No clear term definitions or frameworks and no technical background is evident. I ask, how can you write a book on big data and not have ANY references to 'cloud', 'enterprise architecture', 'platforms', 'python', 'MPP', 'MapReduce', 'Hive', 'NoSQL', or other provider BD products and functions of other service providers (Hadoop is mentioned once)? This book manages. The use cases are unusable for an organization seeking to adopt big data. For this read, there was little that could be taken and used. This sounds incredibly harsh but where were the editors and reviewers prior to publishing this book? The book was neither informative nor usable in this form.
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Format: Paperback
Understanding "Big Data" is the "broccoli" of the IT world, much like life insurance or income taxes in our personal lives; we know it's good for us, but we don't have an appetizing way to master it. Pam Baker delivers up a delicious feast of information that you can use. And you'll enjoy her engaging style of writing along the way. She provides a healthy mix of anecdotes, case studies, and input from world-class experts, as well as her own insightful analysis and explanations. She builds on a solid foundation that incorporates organizational dynamics to psychology, providing practical and targeted steps to bring the benefits of Big Data to your organization.

While she is an enthusiastic cheerleader, she also is a hard pragmatist who understands the need to find value in return for the investment of digging deeper into your company's data. She also shows her broad appreciation of how needs can differ; the second half of the book is devoted to in-depth analysis of the potential role of Big Data in a list of different industries.

If you've accepted the notion that Big Data can probably help your company's bottom line, but aren't really clear on where to start, Data Divination will give you a clear picture of what's possible, and directions on how to get it to work for you.
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If there is one book I could give on big data book to non-IT professionals (okay, plenty of IT pros, too) it would be this one. Baker has managed to condense the sprawl that is the topic of big data into a manageable framework with a set of industry-specific use cases that highlight the key business problems around big data. I'd recommend this book to those wondering why their companies spend so much on expensive analyst reports that spend more time on hype-cycles than on actually implementing big data initiatives.

The book starts with what I think of as the coaching chapters: what's big data and how to get started leveraging it. Chapter 9 addresses one of the toughest issues with big data – privacy. This is, of all the chapters, should not be skipped. The next set of chapters is industry specific starting with Chapter 10 on the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. There are use case chapters on government (non-military), healthcare, retail, financial services and other sectors.

I have my share of books on Hadoop, Spark, Ganglia and other big data technologies. This is not a book like that. This is a book about answers the why and the how of big data from a business perspective. We have plenty of software-specific books for those of us focused on implementation issues. It would help to have more books like this that articulate the means to build a business case and devise a business strategy around big data.
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