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Big Data Analytics and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

There are plenty of talks about Big Data in the technology arena today and how it helps the enterprise to unlock new business avenues with discreet/unstructured data’s spread across the globe. I would say that, it is now the need of the hour. And it is even more BIG than we actually think. We will also explore how it benefits CRM systems.

Definition,

Big Data is large amount of the data which is difficult or impossible for traditional relational databases to handle or process it.

For a more simple/elaborate definition of Big Data, please refer,

http://mike2.openmethodology.org/wiki/Big_Data_Definition

The current moving target size limits for big data is terabytes, exabytes and zettabytes.

According to Wikipedia, examples of big data includes internet web logs, RFID, sensor networks, social networks, social data (due to the social data revolution), Internet text and documents, Internet search indexing, call detail records, astronomy, atmospheric science, genomics, biogeochemical, biological, and other complex and often interdisciplinary scientific research, military surveillance, medical records, photography archives, video archives, and large-scale e-commerce.

While this being said, we are not only talking about data within your servers, it is more of data from external sources. A major challenge in making sense out of external data is that it resides in no one format and is largely unstructured. Valuable data might reside on YouTube or in pictures, RSS feeds or legacy systems. And considering the volume of data, it is costly to maintain an on-premise infrastructure for big data analysis.

With the evolution of many data management techniques and in-order to solve this big data problem. There is an open source software framework called Apache Hadoop which enables your systems to work with independent computers with petabytes of data elements.

About Apache Hadoop,

Hadoop is a software framework which supports data intensive processes and enables applications to work with Big Data. Technically Hadoop is built on top of MapReduces technology with HBase as its database, Hive as a data warehouse, Pig as a query language. However there is a very interesting story behind its name. The creator of the Hadoop had named it Hadoop because his son’s toy elephant was named Hadoop. For the same reasons, the logo of the Hadoop is yellow toy elephant.

There are two very famous companies uses Hadoop to process their large data – Facebook and Yahoo. Hadoop platform can solve problems where the deep analysis is complex and unstructured but needs to be done in reasonable time.

Microsoft and Big Data:

Microsoft is committed to making Hadoop accessible to a broader class of end users, developers and IT professionals. Accelerate your Hadoop deployment through simplicity of Hadoop on Windows, and the use of familiar Microsoft products.

  • Apache Hadoop connector for Microsoft SQL Server
  • Apache Hadoop connector for Microsoft Parallel Data Warehouse

Microsoft Dynamics CRM (With SQL Server 2012) and Big Data:

According to me, the BI and data analytics part of Microsoft will take a huge leap with the power of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and for Dynamics CRM it cannot get better than this.

Microsoft recently announced the support for SQL Server 2012 with Dynamics CRM with few considerations and guidelines

More than getting your customer data with great visualizations components such as dashboards and charts in Dynamics CRM 2011. It will now be possible to process large set of unstructured data from varying sources and sizes with Microsoft’s Big Data solution called HDInsight.

HDInsight is Microsoft’s 100% Apache compatible Hadoop distribution, supported by Microsoft. HDInsight, available both on Windows Server or as an Windows Azure service, empowers organizations with new insights on previously untouched unstructured data, while connecting to the most widely used Business Intelligence (BI) tools on the planet.

While the practical application and technical know how of this technology along with Microsoft Dynamics CRM is not yet evidenced, it would be really exciting for us to see how it works and gets-on in the long run.

It is also a need of the hour for Data Scientists – A Much needed role for a CRM enterprise.

Some interesting reads about the Data Scientist role,

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/09/can_you_live_without_a_data_sc.html

http://hbr.org/2012/10/data-scientist-the-sexiest-job-of-the-21st-century/

I presume that, CRM will not only evolve because of this but exceeds the expectations of traditional CRM systems and meets the true purpose of CRM – Knowing and satisfying your customer’s need!

Cheers,

Francis Edwin

 

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Categories: Dynamics CRM 2011
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