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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Is Your Organization Ready for Hadoop?

Successfully implementing Hadoop relies on readiness factors that you can quantify by using a new online assessment tool from TDWI.

Hadoop is quickly becoming a permanent fixture in data warehouse environments and other enterprise data ecosystems. For example, a recent TDWI survey shows that the number of Hadoop clusters in production is up 60 percent in two years.

Given this trend, a large number of organizations need to prepare for their first production implementations of Hadoop to ensure that the technology succeeds and that the organization receives ample business value. How can you know how prepared you are? How do you know which areas need improvement?

TDWI's new Hadoop Readiness Assessment Tool is a browser-based questionnaire (resembling a survey) that asks you questions about your organization's experience, team structures, and established infrastructure. When you complete the online questionnaire, the assessment tool immediately shows you scores that quantify your readiness for Hadoop.

Corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare providers, and other types of organizations are complex in that they have multiple departments, lines of business, and teams for various business and technology functions. Each function can have a different state of readiness for Hadoop, and each function can affect the success or failure of Hadoop and big data programs.

Because of the complexity of the average organization, TDWI's Hadoop Readiness Assessment Tool assesses Hadoop readiness across five dimensions, most of which map to specific business or technical functions. Here's a general description of each dimension with a few examples of the questions the online assessment tool asks per dimension in order to quantify Hadoop readiness.

Organizational readiness. This dimension concerns three critical success areas: (1) upper management's commitment and vision for Hadoop; (2) the presence of data governance programs and other enterprise programs that can guide Hadoop (and other data-driven projects, too); and (3) whether business-driven use cases for Hadoop have been identified and agreed upon.

Big data readiness. Questions in the online assessment tool test the existence of big data and whether the organization has determined how to get business value from Hadoop and the big data it manages. Questions also ask about previous experience with enterprise data management solutions.

Data management readiness. The assessment tool tests whether a mature data management team and infrastructure already exist and can be assigned to Hadoop, big data, and analytics. Most of the questions within this dimension are designed to collect information about the skills and experience of the data management team because experience with large volumes, new data types, and diverse sources all indicate strong readiness for the data types Hadoop manages.

Analytics readiness. Most users' goal is to build a series of advanced analytics applications atop Hadoop. Accordingly, an organization's commitment to analytics (by business and technology teams) and its prior experience with analytics are important readiness metrics for getting full business value from Hadoop.

IT readiness. The assessment tool tests whether an IT team (either centralized or departmental) or some other technical team (e.g., for data warehousing, BI, or analytics) has committed to owning, deploying, and maintaining Hadoop. To further quantify readiness, tool's questions collect information about IT's inclination toward innovation, general experience, and skills with areas where Hadoop is still maturing, such as security.

At the end of a respondent's session, the online Readiness Assessment Tool displays that respondent's scores per dimension and presents an overall score as well as the average dimension and overall scores of all respondents. That way you have a context for determining whether your organization is ahead of or behind other organizations in the aggregate. You can see exactly which areas need improvement before starting a Hadoop implementation.

You can assess your own organization's Hadoop readiness by using TDWI's new Hadoop Readiness Assessment Tool. Here's how:

  1. Go to the tool's Web page:
  2. Once you're on the tool's Web page, click the brown button near the top of the screen that says: TAKE THE ASSESSMENT.
  3. You will be prompted to log into your TDWI account. If you don't have an account, you can create one for free.
  4. Once logged in, you are automatically placed in the tool, where you select answers to the tool's questionnaire, then see your readiness scores.

About the Author

Philip Russom is director of TDWI Research for data management and oversees many of TDWI’s research-oriented publications, services, and events. He is a well-known figure in data warehousing and business intelligence, having published over 600 research reports, magazine articles, opinion columns, speeches, Webinars, and more. Before joining TDWI in 2005, Russom was an industry analyst covering BI at Forrester Research and Giga Information Group. He also ran his own business as an independent industry analyst and BI consultant and was a contributing editor with leading IT magazines. Before that, Russom worked in technical and marketing positions for various database vendors. You can reach him at [email protected], @prussom on Twitter, and on LinkedIn at

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