traffic jamImagine sitting in traffic on your commute. The GPS app on your smartphone shows nothing’s amiss. The announcer on the radio? Calmly delivers the traffic report without ever once mentioning whatever it is that has you in total gridlock. Twenty-five minutes later, traffic is finally moving. That’s when an alert pops up on your phone telling you there’s an accident, for all the good it does you.

More than likely, at least some part of the above scenario has happened to you. You’re stuck in traffic, yet other than the fact that you’re in it, you have no real-time report to help you get find your data fasteraround it. Now take the same scenario and apply real-time data management to it. That’s exactly what one group of innovators is doing. Waze, an app that works with your smartphone’s GPS, uses your data every time you turn it on to calculate your travel time. The reward? It takes everyone’s travel time data and uses it to reroute users in real time in the event of a traffic slowdown or an accident.

If we look at the challenges facing IT today – massive volumes of data, silos, and reporting speed – feeling like you’re a step behind the right information is all too familiar. Only instead of a traffic jam, you’re dealing with a jam of data and requests. That’s where real-time data management comes in. If you apply an in-memory computing platform for speed (such as the SAP HANA platform) and business intelligence or analytics for real-time reporting and insights (like SAP solutions for business intelligence), everyone in your company suddenly has the ability to see what’s around the bend.

In a recent Forrester survey, 367 IT professionals were asked what their greatest challenges are when it comes to Big Data. Not surprisingly, volume was one of the data is the new oilrecurring themes.

To see how others in your industry are addressing Big Data and gaining a competitive edge, download the Forrester white paper Real-Time Data Management Delivers Faster Insights, Extreme Transaction Processing, and Competitive Advantage.

Want to see real-world examples of Big Data offering a real-time advantage? Read the Waze story The Map That Draws Itself.

Want to see more stories from The Human Face of Big Data? Buy The Human Face of Big Data app for Apple iPad. Or visit the book’s Web site at

The Human Face of Big Data app was created through the generous assistance of EMC. Supporting sponsors: SAP, Cisco, FedEx, VMware, Originate, Tableau.

Photo credit: Nigel Holmes 2012 / from The Human Face of Big Data