Watching Big Data Grow Up
Big data is a term that marketers and pundits use to label everything, says author Alistair Croll in a recent Forbes.com blog post.
After all, muses Croll, everything is on the Internet, the Internet has a lot of data, and therefore, everything is big data.
The blog post, entitled Big Data Grows Up: Three Spaces to Watch Once the Hype Subsides, shares Croll’s best “bet” as to where big data will have the biggest impact in the near future.
- Enterprise business intelligence (BI). Croll says that the speed at which data can be captured today is making it easier to explore enterprise data interactively. This will allow analysts to speculate beyond the traditional BI role of reporting on “known unknowns,” a term attributed to author Avinash Kaushik that refers to “things we know we don’t know.” Now with faster data availability, the “unknown unknowns” can be explored in near real time, bringing insights that deliver competitive advantages and unique differentiators. As to the future, Croll sees BI vendors offering “big data lite” products with “enough innovation and disruption to satisfy the CEO’s golf buddies, but not so much that enterprise IT’s jobs are threatened.”
- Civil engineering. The next place where Croll sees big data evolving is in society and government, noting that cities are the perfect labs for big data initiatives. He believes that big data can help increase the efficiency of government resources and have a positive effect on social issues. Data mining is already being used to positively affect such things as disease outbreaks, traffic patterns, and education. Notably, the consequence of the use of big data in governments may be greater scrutiny and increased accountability, whether they like it or not.
- Customer relationship optimization. As to the use of big data in the consumer realm, Croll cites the “360-degree customer view,” referring to how marketing can now track customer data across multiple channels. The biggest data systems today are used for marketing-related analysis, such as web analytics and ad optimization, and in fact, as Croll notes, this is where many of today’s most popular architectures were “weaned.” Croll sees the use of big data in online marketing expanding, with more offline data from smartphones becoming available and adding to the mix. Croll also sees smaller businesses being able to take advantage of big data as technology becomes more available and more affordable.
Croll’s views on big data are not only insightful, but also humorous, as he ends the article with this thought:
Will big data change the world? Absolutely.
Will it be able to defy the usual cycle of earnest adoption, crushing disappointment, and eventual rebirth all technologies must travel? Certainly not.
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