Big Data is Cheap
By Mike Krass on December 4, 2011
What is Big Data?
The phrase "big data" refers to the tools, processes and procedures that allow an organization to create, manipulate and interpret enormous sets of data.
This data can represent everything from Facebook fan page activity to the number of times a user changes the color of product they are buying on your website.
Why Should You Care About Big Data?
To this day, brands continue to hold focus groups to assist in their efforts to make educated, consumer-informed decisions about new and existing pieces of their business. These small groups of people are then used as a representative sample of all consumers who may be interested in a product or service.
But your consumers are already speaking to your brand with the amount of data they are organically feeding you!
Big data represents billions of interactions that your customer base is having with your brand.
Instead of basing important decisions on representative sample sizes, brands should utilize the data their consumers have are giving them on a daily basis.
What Does Big Data Give Me?
Big data's mission is to make your endless sources of data actionable; to take the billions of interactions consumers engage in with your brand, identify tried and make informed business decisions.
The data itself is cheap; anybody can accumulate and store terabytes / exabytes of data. Big data becomes valuable when a trained analyst steps in and actually begins gleaning insights from the mountains of data; when they begin sorting the diamonds from the peanuts, so to speak.
How Do I Get Started?
Start searching for trained data analysts right now!
A recent McKinsey & Company survey found that there is a shortage of trained analytical talent in the US. In fact, by 2018 the US could face a shortage of nearly 200,000 trained big data analysts and almost 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to create actionable analysis based on big data sets.
Get ahead of your competition by actively scouting and onboarding trained analyst talent.
What Can Big Data Show Us?
To the left is DJ Patil, of Greylock Partners, visually showing what a trained analyst can uncover. The picture he's pointing at represents billions of data points for LinkedIn, the popular social network.
As you can see, there are an infinite number of small dots on the poster. But, there is only one arrow with an insight next to it (which DJ is pointing directly at), that represents the one 'diamond', so to speak, that the analyst pulled out of the endless reams of data they sorted through.
Another great example is Climate Corp. ability to monitor 50 terabytes of live data, including weather readings from 2.5 million locations and 150 billion soil observations, to create weather insurance for farmers. Since crop insurance is nearly nonexistent in most parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, being able to a) offer insurance to incent farmers to farm more land without fear of going bankrupt, and b) continue to educate farmers on the geographic makeup of their own land helps spur growth within the agricultural community in rural, third-world locations.
The Future of Big Data
According to EMC, data is set to grow 50 times over the next 10 years. Both the source and type of data at our fingertips will drive this growth.
But data is useless without anyone to manipulate and intrepret it's findings. Delivering actionable results from the data unlocks it's true value.
Your consumer base is speaking to you: Are you listening?