Big Data Bracketology

Digital Marketing Lead, Public Services Sector, IBM Analytics

We are officially in one of my favorite months of the year – March Madness! It should be March every month, except when it’s December…but that’s a whole other story.


This March, IBM big data is bringing their “Smart Sixteen” teams from the Marketing, Finance, IT and Infrastructure regions to the big data dance! The question on everyone’s mind is which teams will make it to the final show down as the most important consideration in realizing business value through big data. Pundits, analysts, consultants, CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, COOs, CIOs – did I miss any O’s? – a bracketeers across the social media world are chafing at the bit to throw their bracket picks into the big data dance. I’m pretty stoked myself.

So let’s break down the “Smart Sixteen” teams in the big data dance by the four regions:


Faster Reporting & Analytics: The star player on this team enables high-performance reporting and analytics on terabytes of data every time he hits the court. Money shot: 25x faster reporting and analytics – up to 1000x for some queries!

Predict Customer Behavior: The strength of this team comes from its ability to work with a single view of the customer by leveraging data from across the enterprise (including external sources) for deeper customer insight.

Sentiment/Social Media Analysis: On the big data court, this team uses social, machine data and text analytics to gain a better understanding of consumer preferences, market trends and brand awareness.

Improve Campaign Effectiveness: Changing your shot mid-air takes skill. This entire team is able to determine in real-time the right message to engage customers and prospects with timely, personalized marketing.


Real-time Streaming Data: This team has great data handling, dribbling and passing skills. They are analyzing massive volumes of data at rates up to petabytes per day, resulting in increased operational efficiency – better than any team in the field.

Hadoop Analytics: Boasting the most powerful center in big data madness history, this team’s Hadoop analytics is scalable and flexible – truly enterprise ready.

Fast Development & Deployment: It’s very difficult to keep up with the pace of this team’s speed on the court. Their speed makes them a very formidable competitor offering the fastest deployment of an enterprise-class Hadoop system.

Enterprise-wide Integration: This team’s integrated Hadoop analytics with traditional analytics and enterprise-class security and management makes them hard to beat.


Threat & Fraud Detection: With swift analysis of data-in-motion and at rest, this team finds associations, uncovers patterns and facts to detect bad play calling and avoid fouls.

Reduced Resource Costs: With their ability to integrate big data and data warehouse capabilities, this team is right-sizing spending and increasing operational efficiency to get to the trophy.

Governance & Risk management: Uncanny insight on risk and compliance across their enterprise allows this team to manage their data and make better decisions on the business court.

Future-Proof Versatility: This team boasts two stars, a power forward that brings business-grade NoSQL and a cagey point guard whose mobile database delivers greater application flexibility. Experts predict this team will be in the big data dance for years to come.


High Availability: With a deep bench, this team boasts high database availability and disaster recovery. Always a crowd pleaser, they enter the tournament on a big winning streak!

Analyze Machine Data: By pulling analysis from a variety of machine and operational data, this team improves its game play and produces better business results.

Archiving & Monitoring: With an unbeatable defense with big data capabilities and a data warehouse optimized for workload and performance, this team is poised to win the entire smart challenge tourney.

Simplified Data Management: The ease and fluidity which brings to the big data court is hard to match. They simplify Hadoop Appliance application development and learning curve.

Who's Your Pick?

So that’s the Smart Sixteen teams in a nutshell. Which “bubble” teams do you think should have made the big data dance? Who do you have making it to the elite eight, the final four and the bright lights of the big data Smart Sixteen challenge finals?

I’m popping my collar and donning the colors of the Predicting Consumer Behavior team out of the marketing region. Who are you rooting for?

Give it your best shot -- no basketball skills needed! Fill out your bracket by March 25! If you're on Twitter, tweet us at #SMART16 in the #bigdatamgmt stream. May the big data madness begin!

UPDATED - We're now down to the Elite 8 "teams"! Check your bracket ... and start over with a new one if you want!