Monday, January 20, 2014

Big Data is a Big Deal

By Sue O'Shea - Director, Integrated Insight

“Big Data” is a big deal.  It possesses one or more of the following characteristics – high volume, high velocity, or high variety and comes from sensors, devices, video/audio, networks, log files, transactional applications, web, and social media - much of it generated in real time and in a very large scale. Businesses are all collecting, organizing and analyzing data to some degree, but how do companies get the sheer volume under control and mine the data? Big data is only useful if you know how to analyze and glean insights and put the insights into action.  If not, it’s just another report on the desk.

Wired Magazine offered the below insights to help understand the clues that the data is providing.  Among the insights are:
  • Treat Your data as a ‘Gold Mine’… and Mine the Gold –   Collecting this valuable information is the first step in truly understanding your customers’ experience.
  • Don’t Always Assume You Know What Your Customer Wants or Needs – Allow the data to provide insight.
  • Focus on Quality of Your Data rather Than Quantity – Focus on the data that matters most.
  • Be Agile – You technology must be agile and able to adjust as quickly as your customers change their preferences.
  • Your Business Operates in Real Time – So Should Your Analytics – The ability to gain insights into your customers’ experience and behavior in real time allows you to understand what’s happening as it’s happening.
  • The Data is Yours, Use Every Bit of It – It is the granular information about your customers’ behavior and experience that will render the most valuable insights.
  • Look at the Full Picture –Enrich data by correlating it with other data that resides in different data stores to make sure you are able to “connect the dots.”
However, before embarking on a big data quest, IBM, a provider of big data IT solutions, recommends getting these things right first:
  •  Build a culture that infuses analytics everywhere. Empower all employees to make data-based decisions, instead of relying on instinct and past experience.
  •  Be proactive about privacy, security and governance. Ensure that the data being analyzed is safe, secure and accurate.
  •  Invest in a big data and analytics platform that is tuned to the task of handling all types of data, regardless of form or function.
Big data has the power to help companies gain a full understanding of customers—what makes them tick, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next, and what factors lead them to recommend your company to others.  If done correctly, it can help marketers not only make better decisions but more profitable ones for their companies.

If you want to learn more about Big Data, take a look at  The website offers a variety of free and fee based courses by experienced professionals and teachers.

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