Big data analytics relies too much on historic data and has failed to provide businesses with the real-time information needed to supporting fast decision-making, according to the CTO of software provider Tibco.

Speaking at the Tibco Transform event in Paris, chief technology officer Matt Quinn told delegates that many firms have looked at big data as a "science experiment", using months or years of historic data to find valuable insights rather than reacting to events as they happen. The company is coining a new term, 'fast data', to describe a different approach to analytics.

"The challenge with big data is that it has not gained relevance to your everyday life and to the operational decisions you are making on a daily basis," he said.

"It may improve things, or point out inefficiencies in your business model, and it may point out opportunities, but the problem is that you are finding a needle in a haystack once.

"What 'fast data' is all about is being able to find the needle in a haystack again and again, based on unique circumstances and the context in real-time, at that particular moment of interaction."

Fast data is part of Tibco's sales pitch as it expands its business from its traditional application integration products into offering events processing, analytics, social and data visualisation technology. In April, the company added to its portfolio with the acquisition of business intelligence software provider Jaspersoft for $185 million.

For Tibco, the fast data concept means combining data from a variety of business systems - such as business applications, cloud services and mobile devices - and bringing these together to perform event processing and analytics to deliver meaningful information to the enterprise.

According to Quinn, the ability to utilise data in real time has become more important as business models change at a quickening rate across most industries - meaning that business data from five to 10 years ago will often have little relevance to actions being made currently.

"Given today's pace of change in business, the ability to act in context right now is more important than seeing that you should have done something different six months later," he added.

"It may be perfect, it may be the right decision in six months, but you can't go back in time. So being 80 percent right at that particular moment is more valuable in many cases that being 100 percent right after you can no longer or influence the decision."

He added: "Fast data doesn't replace big data, fast data is the next step in the evolution and revolution that was stated with big data."

Customers of Tibco include Airbus, BNP Paribas, and Western Union, which recently spoke to ComputerworldUK about its big data analytics strategy.