Every minute you are not using Big Data means a lost business opportunity. In an information society, information is money. The trick is to generate value by extracting the right information from the digital universe. Forrester, McKinsey, and IBM have all issued white papers or reports in the last months discussing the impact that the analysis of big data will have on business. We may be on the threshold of a major period of exploration of the digital universe.
Big data isn’t anything new. It is just getting bigger. As the price of analytic software, sensors and communication devices continues to fall to one-sixth of what it was in 2005*), mastering of big data starts to lose intelligence offices privileges and becomes mainstream thanks to rapid business exploitation.
Big data refers to the totality of information available - all data that might help create a more complete understanding about an issue or person or provide an answer to some question. „Big data technologies describe a new generation of technologies and architectures, designed to economically extract value from very large volumes of a wide variety of data, by enabling high-velocity capture, discovery and / or analysis,” as per the IDC study. It is about finding answers where there are yet to be questions.
Historically all kind of data was used to confirm or support decisions that had already been made (bar and pie charts), rather than to learn new things and discover the right answer. The volume and unstructured nature of so-called “big data” prevented much in a way of analysis. It was very time-consuming. It required the ability to assimilate many kinds of media and info sources. But nowadays we have computers that are close to being able to look at large amounts of different kind of data to provide summaries, make suggestions, as well as to draw real-time insightful conclusions.
In recent months all kind of Companies – mainly coming from pharmaceuticals, retail, telecommunications or insurance industries - have started to deploy big data strategies. They are shifting their organizations from using intuition towards making decisions based on using large-scale data gathering and analytics. Via easy to operate, immediate, sorted internal and external information from around the world, companies obtain insights that would otherwise remain hidden. Using those insights Companies are able to better shape their strategy, to better manage their risks, to better than competition anticipate moves of customers and industry and thus they are able to improve their overall performance.
According McKinsey research such progressive companies record measurable improvement in productivity and other performance measures: „A one-standard-deviation increase toward data and analytics was correlated with about a 5 to 6 percent improvement in productivity and a slightly larger increase in profitability in those same firms. The implication for companies is that by changing the way they make decisions, they’re likely to be able to outperform competitors.“
As the big data management tools will continue to become standard business enabler, future competitive advantages will be in the hands of those, for whom it will become a new type of corporate asset. These will be companies that have made a commitment to regard data need highly. They will be able to build a low-cost, reliable infrastructure for data collection and storage using digital assets. They will be not only able to capture more and better data, but they will also have the possibility to do a fundamentally different decision making. They will be able to use data timely and effectively across the whole organization, they will be able to drive the changes in organizations that are coming their way. They will test hypotheses and analyze results to guide investment decisions and operational changes. They will collect best practices for leveraging and extracting value from data. They will no more operate in internal silos, as they will use one collective info-net.
“The ultimate value of a big data implementation will be judged based on one or more of three criteria (IDC study):
- Does it provide more useful information?
- Does it improve the fidelity of the information?
- Does it improve the timeliness of the response?”
Upcoming period of the digital universe exploration will not be without its challenges. But it will represent a unique opportunity for those Companies who are up-to-speed and ready for fast adoption of new technologies. Huge flood of data and analytical opportunities will create more value for people who can be creative in seeing patterns and for people who can be entrepreneurial in creating new business opportunities that take advantage of these patterns. The success of many enterprises in the coming years will be determined by how the Co. will thrive in driving the required enterprise adjustment – not just on the technical site, but on the cultural, people site as well.
*) „Technology has helped driving the cost of creating, capturing, managing and storing information down to one-sixth of what it was in 2005. Since 2005 the investment by enterprises in the digital universe has increased 50% - to $4 trillion.“ IDG study