Is Big Data Really the Most Important New Technological Trend?

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Organizations of all sizes have to keep themselves on their toes these days as they are bombarded with marketing messages about which new technological developments will “transform” their business, increase their efficiency, and enhance their overall operations while cutting costs.  ClickSoftware, a mobile workforce management provider identifies mobility, the cloud, social media, and big data as (relatively) new technology that impacts a business most.  But is the big data hype going to force mobility, social media and SaaS trends into submission?  Do organizations even understand what big data is, and what it can do for them?

According to Peter Fingar, the author of Business Innovation in the Cloud, organizations should “consider big data as the most important thing for business since the Internet.” Fingar also defines big data as “finding new meaning from new data sources. New meaning that was never practical to find before—because of scale, data format, distribution of data in many locations, the fact that no one thought of looking before, etc.”  He claims, “it is easily as much a new mindset as new technology.“

So why is big data so important?  Some analysts consider it to be a business revolution of sorts.  For the past twenty years, small developments over time have given businesses the ability to collect large amounts of data, like product information, customer information, and more.  However while data collection is now relatively easily accomplished, the analysis of this data is not.  Big data gives organizations better insight into key business decisions like what products to sell, when and where to sell them, and to whom.  These decisions can then essentially optimize your business.

Are organizations ready for this type of innovation though?  And have they begun to adopt it?   According to a survey done by SAS, a business analytics software company, 39% of organizations are considering or exploring a big data solution, but only 12% are actually in the process of implementing such a solution.  The main reason that organizations gave as to why they aren’t considering a big data solution is because they don’t know enough about it.  The following chart shows how organizations use a big data strategy, according to the SAS survey.

So should cloud technologies, social media, and mobility feel threatened by the up and coming super power of big data?  I would say; not yet.  Though most organizations understand that big data is out there, that it offers many shiny possibilities, and maybe what it can do, they lack the knowledge and resources to truly glean the benefits a big data solution can bring.  With a proven track record of success, mobility, social media and cloud technologies can rest easy for now.  But as more organizations adopt a big data solution, and success stories become mainstream, this is sure to change.  Until then, we encourage you to do your research and explore the possibilities.

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