The answer to the question of “what’s the next big thing in big data?” is readily apparent: Bigger Data! Experts tell us we’re only scratching the surface of where the Big Data market is heading. The growth here is exponential since the amount of data in the world more than doubles every 3 years. This means that by 2015 the world will have 8 zettabytes of data, which is an 8 with 21 zeroes after it of bytes. Therefore, it’s paramount that businesses act fast to get onboard and start developing clear strategies around how to gather, leverage, analyze, and glean insights from Big Data.
So we get that Big Data is huge and that it’s becoming bigger than ever. This much is obvious and we spent the time in part 1 giving evidence of its growing volume and size. In this segment, we want to spend a few moments taking a look at what your organization should be doing about their Big Data. What’s the best way to move forward strategically without getting overwhelmed in the sea of data? Here are some pointers.
- Formulate your business problem: Define exactly what your business proposition is or what hypothesis you want to prove or disprove? Look across the organization at your KPIs and ask stakeholders to weigh in to address where to cut costs and improve revenue. For example, you may start with something as simple as increasing engagements on Facebook? In that case, you’ll want to see what kinds of posts are getting the most likes. How about posts containing images?
- Identify your data: Figure out what types of data are required to answer your business question. Some basic things you’ll need to explore are the variety and types of data available to address your business question? You will also need to know if there’s enough data and enough history and granularity in the data to support your analysis. For example, if you want to know the best day and time of the week to kickoff your email marketing campaign, then you’ll need to look at your email open rates.
- Kickoff your analysis: This may be as straightforward as using Google Analytics to get insights on where your web traffic is coming from, what pages visitors are looking at, on what devices, and what the general traffic patterns are looking like. If you’re doing email marketing with a tool like MailChimp, then start by reviewing your email open rate statistics. How about leveraging the growing numbers of predictive analytics tools on the market today. Whatever approach you take to analysis the best advice is to start small, gather some results, and scale up. There’s no need to boil the ocean to find what you’re looking for.
- Act on your findings: What action is your analysis driving at? If your data shows more email open rates on Wednesday, then try starting your next few email marketing campaigns on a Wednesday to see if your results match the initial findings. If you’re finding that a good number of visitors are using mobile devices to access your website, then take measures to ensure that your business is mobile friendly. Is your website responsive web enabled for different devices? Your initial actions may not lead to the results you expected, and that’s okay. Just keep trying and don’t give up! Also, be sure to get commitment up front from other business stakeholders to ensure that the final results are appropriately applied within the organization.
Big Data is indeed bigger than ever and organizations need to be actively and urgently pursuing strategies to leverage their data assets (including the data they didn’t know they had!). As hard as it is to believe, today’s data sizes will pale in comparison to what is ahead in the next couple of years.
Apple has just raised the bar on wearable technology a notch with the release of its new Apple Watch, which doubles as a health and digital fitness tracking device. Wearables gathering these kinds of metrics are just some of the innovations that will bring Big Data into an epic new era. Here, as never before, businesses also will have incredible opportunities to capture additional stores of information about who we are, what we do in our free time, our favorite books, and many, many other life preferences. So in case you’ve grown weary of hearing so much about Big Data, reboot and recharge because we’re just scratching the surface!