Information Overload: The Promise and Problems of Big Data

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(List compiled by Andrew Dominguez)

"Data deluge" and "information overload" are just a few of the catchphrases that describe the incredible and mostly unmanageable amounts of information available on the internet. Recent articles have described the many issues and prescribed a handful of remedies, from managing thousands of incoming emails to streamlining Google searches.

A report released earlier this year by McKinsey & Company attempts to quantify the benefits of improving data management. Here is a snapshot of the consultancy’s main points:

- by 2009, each sector in the US economy had an average of at least 200 terabytes of data per company with at least 1,000 employees
- this data can be used to increase efficiency, make better decisions, and reduce costs in a big way
- companies can use data to understand and target customers more precisely
- big data can lead to greater improvements in next generation technology and services
- proper data management will make companies much more competitive
- big data can help companies improve operating margins by up to 60%
- governments can use big data to reduce much of the costs of healthcare and other government services and increase tax revenues, among other things
- by 2018, there could be a huge shortage of skilled labor necessary to analyze all of the data

Click here for a detailed infographic.

Josh Brown of TheReformedBroker.com and Fusion Analytics believes that there are a number of useful investment opportunities in this increasingly important sector. He is bullish on data storage and big data analysis companies, and on the entire big data industry in general.

In his interview with Breakout on Yahoo! Finance, Brown details the incredible growth of big data: "In 2008, in terms of all digital data output, we're talking 180 exabytes. An exabyte is one billion gigabytes. There are estimates out there that by 2020 we could be talking about 35,000 exabytes," Brown told hosts Matt Nesto and Jeff Macke.

Interested in investing in big data? To help you out, here are some of the biggest firms by market cap that are involved in the management, analysis, and storage of data.

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List sorted by market cap.

1. EMC Corporation (EMC): Data Storage Devices industry with a market cap of $55.16B. It develops, delivers and supports the information technology (IT) industry’s range of information infrastructure and virtual infrastructure technologies and solutions.

It provides a foundation for customers to manage and secure their quantities of information, automate their data center operations, reduce power and cooling costs, and information for business agility and advantage. Its VMware Virtual Infrastructure business is the provider of virtual infrastructure software solutions from the desktop to the data center and to the cloud.

2. VMware, Inc. (VMW): Technical & System Software industry with a market cap of $43.07B. It is a provider of virtualization solutions from the desktop to the data center.

Its suite of virtualization solutions addresses a range of complex information technology (IT) problems, that include cost and operational inefficiencies, facilitating access to cloud computing capacity, business continuity, software lifecycle management, and corporate computing device management. Its solutions are based upon its core virtualization technology and are organized into four main product groups: Cloud Infrastructure, Cloud Application Platform, End-User Computing, and Virtualization and Cloud Management.

3. Infosys Technologies Limited (INFY): Technical & System Software industry with a market cap of $35.07B. It provides business consulting, technology, engineering and outsourcing services to help clients in over 30 countries.

Its end-to-end business solutions leverage technology for its clients. Its suite of business solutions includes business and technology consulting, custom application development, infrastructure management services, maintenance and production support, package enabled consulting and implementation including enterprise solutions, product engineering and lifecycle solutions, systems integration, validation solutions and cloud-based solutions and services. It also provides software products to the banking industry. It also provides business process management services, such as offsite customer relationship management, finance and accounting, and administration and sales order processing.

4. Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP): Business Software & Services industry with a market cap of $26.54B. It is engaged in providing business outsourcing solutions.

It offers a range of human resource (HR), payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. It is also a provider of integrated computing solutions to automotive, truck, motorcycle, marine, recreational vehicle and heavy machinery dealers worldwide.

5. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH): Business Software & Services industry with a market cap of $22.53B. It is a provider of custom information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services.

It is engaged in Technology Consulting, Complex Systems Development and Integration, Enterprise Software Package Implementation and Maintenance, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and Analytics, Application Testing, Application Maintenance, Infrastructure Management, and Business and Knowledge Process Outsourcing, (BPO and KPO). It operates in four segments: Financial Services; Healthcare; Manufacturing, Retail and Logistics, and Other, which includes Communications, Information, Media and Entertainment and High Technology.

6. NetApp, Inc. (NTAP): Data Storage Devices industry with a market cap of $18.8B. It is a provider of storage and data management solutions.

It offers solutions for storing, managing, protecting and archiving business data. Its products and services are designed to meet the requirements and service levels of large enterprises and their business applications.

7. Iron Mountain Inc. (IRM): Business Software & Services industry with a market cap of $6.93B. It is an information management services company.

Its information management services are divided into three service categories: records management services, data protection and recovery services, and information destruction services. It offers both physical services and technology solutions in each of these categories. These services are provided to address information management challenges, such as rising storage costs, litigation, regulatory compliance and disaster recovery.

8. CGI Group, Inc. (GIB): Internet Software & Services industry with a market cap of $6.25B. It is an independent provider of end-to-end information technology (IT) services and business process services (BPS) to clients globally. Its services include consulting, system integration, and management of IT and business functions. It provides a range of IT and management consulting services, including business transformation, IT strategic planning, business process engineering and systems architecture.

9. Informatica Corporation (INFA): Business Software & Services industry with a market cap of $5.66B. It is a provider of enterprise data integration and data quality software and services.

The Informatica platform is a set of technologies that enable a range of enterprise-wide data integration initiatives, including Enterprise Data Integration, Data Quality, Master Data Management, B2B Data Exchange, Application Information Lifecycle Management, Complex Event Processing, and Cloud Data Integration. It provides a range of services, including product-related customer support, consulting services, and education services.

Its services range from initial configuration of the Informatica platform, knowledge transfer to customers and partners, designing and implementing custom data integration solutions, project audit, and performance tuning, to helping customers implement enterprise-wide integration strategies, such as Integration Competency Centers or leadership Lean Integration practices.

10. Rackspace Hosting, Inc (RAX): Internet Software & Services industry with a market cap of $5.53B. It operates in the hosting and cloud computing industry. During the year ended December 31, 2010, it served more than 130,000 business customers and it managed more than 66,000 servers, 2,100,000 e-mail accounts, and 417,000 cloud hosting domains.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks


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