Apr 29 2013

Intel CIO Sees the ROI of Big Data, but Needs More Talent

The semiconductor chipmaker seeks savings on time and cost with its investment in analytics and business intelligence.

With all of the excitement Big Data has generated among enterprises of all sizes, it might be more aptly named Big Promise.

The idea of tapping into a wealth of granular-level information about everything a company touches, including internal operations information as well as customer data, has many companies exploring how they can integrate, generate and access smarter, better business intelligence.

Intel, one of the world’s largest semiconductor chipmakers, has charged ahead with Big Data and deployed an instance of Hadoop, an open-source framework that supports Big Data initiatives.

The company’s CIO, Kim Stevenson, participated in a breakfast conversation about Big Data and cloud computing that ZDNet Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan reported on.

According to Dignan’s report, Stevenson said the company’s biggest goal “is to reduce the product cycle time.” In its current integration with its manufacturing process, the company’s Big Data system “logs information, finds errors and best practices and passes the data along to the next tool. If each step improves, there are better good die yields and lower unit costs.”

While building out the necessary infrastructure to support Big Data has been a daunting task, Stevenson’s bigger challenge is finding IT talent to develop and maintain the company’s Big Data systems.

“Whether developing or implementing Big Data, talent is in short supply. It's not easy for a database person who thinks in rows and columns to learn Hadoop,” said Stevenson. “It's also difficult for business people because they usually want clean data.”

In an effort to hone and attract new talent to the growing Big Data field, Intel is partnering with universities to grow the talent pool of Big Data masters. Stevenson’s assessment of the current job market for Big Data professionals reinforces the big opportunity for IT workers. IT research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2015, 1.9 million U.S. jobs will be created to support Big Data efforts. And Big Data-focused job boards and recruiters are already popping up.

If you thought the hyper growth of the mobile app industry was mind-boggling, wait until Big Data shifts into high gear.