A Simple Way to Look at Big Data

Big Data, Big Data. Yes, we’re capturing more information than ever. The web, social media and large business applications are all capturing an unprecedented amount of information. BUT why is big data even a big deal? Well, if analyzed properly, the trends and insights revealed from Big Data can be extremely important in gaining a competitive advantage in business.
Let’s use the analogy of professional basketball. There was a time in the NBA when film study and scouting opponents were not overly complicated and most teams focused mainly on their own strengths to prepare for a game.
Now with an abundance of information, film study and effective scouting are critical to a team’s success. Coaches and scouts have thoroughly analyzed each player throughout the league looking at tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. They know that a certain player is 30% less likely to finish at the rim if you make him go to his left. Another player fake pumps a shot 80% of the time before crossing-over to his right. These types of insight are vital competitive advantage in the league.
A business landscape is much more complex with considerably more variables. Yet, not all businesses are good at “scouting” the marketplace. Better understanding the tendencies and motivators of existing and prospective customers can be the difference between success and failure of a strategic product launch. Big Data, especially through the social data set, also has the promise of showing predictive trends with conversations that can be leading indicators of what’s on the consumer minds.
Effective use of Big Data, however, is not just about the right technical software and hardware framework. Investing in new technologies is useless without a skilled and experienced team to properly utilize these tools to support strategic planning and action. Today, building such a capable team is a big challenge that is not being considered enough when architecting a Big Data solution.