Big Data and Big Solutions

By BKV in Analytics & Information on January 3rd, 2013

Some are using it to predict pregnancies, some to predict elections, and others to predict crime. “Big Data” is already being used in a big way. The consumer packaged goods, healthcare, and retail industries have been using mountains of consumer and sales information to make key business decisions and market more efficiently. Even simple Google searches for the term “big data” have skyrocketed – they’ve doubled since January 2012!
And after presenting at a recent analytics conference where Big Data was a hot topic, it’s becoming clear: in the coming year, more industries will start capitalizing on the insights to be gleaned from Big Data. But how do you start to break down big data and what it means for your business? “Big Data is determined not by what is coming at you, but by your ability to handle it,” says Arthur Cole of IT Business Edge. To help you handle it, here are a few tips on how to break down all that Big Data and maximize its benefits:

1. Start by defining your “Big Data” goals.

What business decision or outcome are you looking to gain insight into with Big Data?  Determine this up front as you decide what type of data you want to collect and monitor.

Marketers should start with a business hypothesis and build Big Data capabilities around that. Want to determine how your marketing impacts customer behavior? Trying to identify your high-profit consumers? Big Data can help solve each of these, though the architecture of each solution could be very different.

 Initially defining these goals will help build and organize the necessary infrastructure and resources.

2. Focus on Big Solutions, not Big Data.

While quoting how many truckloads of data we create each minute sounds impressive, all that data is worthless if an organization cannot, or fails to, act on it. This currently is running rampant in the digital space, as the infinite number of reports and dashboards that vendors create far outweigh the number of actionable solutions they generate.

Instead, build Big Data databases with an eye towards applying advanced analytics (statistical analyses, segmentation, etc.) in order to extract the most value from this effort.

Use data to answer business questions that marketing, media, finance, etc. teams can learn from, which in turn allows them to drive change.  All the while, measure the impact of these solutions to provide a Big Data ROI.

3. Start with a manageable Big Data project and promote its success.

Initially, make Big Data small.  Identify a manageable question and then build a plan to address it using existing resources and capabilities.  This will likely be a very small slice of a larger business challenge.

Starting small allows Big Data practitioners to hone in on a problem and solve it quickly, and then promote and celebrate its success.  Unavoidably, this results in then solving a bigger slice of that large business challenge.

Keep in mind that Big Data and analytics solutions are always evolving, so expect to start small and progress quickly. Interested in speaking with our BKV experts? Contact us today!