7 Big Data Players To Watch

New York City, IBM, State Street and four other organizations are developing innovative ways to leverage the ever-increasing volumes of data they're amassing.
March 05, 2013


Analysis Enables Insight Into Unstructured Data

Splunk is one of the highest profile and most successful big data companies. "What Google is for Web searches, Splunk is for machine-generated data," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry said in a recent article about the San Francisco company.

Splunk has made its name from analyzing unstructured data that companies and organizations obtain from websites, servers, mobile devices and other machines to understand behaviors, user actions, application and system performance, and cyber threats. This kind of data can represent more than 90% of the data that any given organization receives, according to Splunk's estimates.

Splunk works with organizations such as Major League Baseball, Cisco, more than 200 government agencies and several financial institutions, including Bank of America. One of its most recent initiatives includes a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to analyze data from social media sites to help find people in distress during and after natural disasters. The partnership was announced in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area late last year. This could become an interesting case study in analyzing social media data, as many individuals who were affected by Sandy turned to social media to seek help when cell phone towers were knocked out by the storm.

The company is also worth watching as Bloomberg News reported last March that Oracle and IBM are both interested in acquiring it. -- J.C.

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