Over the past couple of years Big Data has really become a buzzword in the business and IT landscape. I thought that I would take some time to distill the hype down into something that we as business executives can consume. My hope is that this will provide some thought provoking context for your thinking on Big Data and how you might be able to take advantage of this hot topic.
What is Big Data?
Many believe that Big Data is the same as Business Intelligence or simply a very large volume of data. Although those are generally included in the definition of Big Data I would suggest that Big Data is much more than this.
Big Data is about what you do with the data the the actual data, the source of the data and the type of the data.
Big data has become a catchphrase for voluminous data, business intelligence, streaming data, unstructured data and on and on. These sources are accurate but don’t really help us to understand how to apply Big Data to our business decisions.
Our best approach to this overused generic term is to pick an area to focus on that returns business value to us and explore that prior to widening the adoption. Focus is always going to pay larger dividends than the “shotgun approach”.
Many companies are starting with Big Data as Business Intelligence, Analytics or Reporting. These are good starting points but miss the true intent and value of Big Data.
Big Data Opportunities
Using the definition that I propose above we can see how the source and type of data will greatly impact the opportunities available to us in the use and application of these resources.
For example, if you have sensor data from the production line that can be captured analyzed and pumped into a decision support system you could be generating a significant differentiator for your company.
Another example could be that you collect anecdotal data from the internet relating to public perception and comment on your products and services and quantify those into performance indicators you again differentiate your company from the pack.
Big Data and Data Science opportunities abound and I believe that only our imagination and innovation constrain the potential uses.