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Big data

Putting big data at the heart of your business

In every business there is a huge amount of insightful data potentially lying dormant or underutilised. It’s the ticking Big Data time bomb in every business, but to really harness the power of how data can support a business there are two key barriers – Big Decisions behind Big Data:

 1)      What is data?

A business needs to decide what ‘data’ is, what does big data mean to them?  It’s not just what and how a customer spends money with them; they may hold this on their customer database, but also how a customer decides to spend money them – how they research what their decision is also important, and so digital footprint data, social data as well as if they are looking for on and offline and who influences transactional information becomes key.

Not only is there a lot of data, there are also a lot of different and new types of data: text, video, web search logs, sensor data and financial transactions. This is when it starts to get big; there is literally so much of this information the challenge then becomes that the business needs to have the ability to string it all up and hold it in one place to enable insight to be drawn from it – this can take systems development, time and of course investment, and this is where businesses hit a brick wall.

2)      Where is the talent? 

A business needs the talent to be able to interrogate data in a way that looks for business critical intelligence rather than identifying interesting facts. Not just looking at the ‘what happened’ but also the ‘why that happened in the way it did’.

Just because it's big data doesn’t mean that it is all about thinking big – it’s about thinking simple and thinking smart. Rather than facing a huge mountain of information which keeps building by the day, start with the simple facts of which consumers and what behaviours drive the profit within the business, and what and how businesses can impact that behaviour. 

LinkedIn worked out that being in the business of increasing the size of people’s networks (and its member base), the best way they could impact significant growth was to introduce ‘people you may know’ by looking at the connections of their member’s connections.  Simple idea, simple data connections with huge business impact; they generated millions of new page views and thanks to this one feature, LinkedIn’s growth shifted significantly.

So, work out what data is important, don’t sit it with just the IT guys, sit it on the board next to the FD, invest in it but more importantly invest in talent to help optimise it

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