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What Lies Beyond the Big Data Buzz?

Is ‘Big Data’ just another buzz word, or is there more to it? The truth is that data, no matter whether big or small, is always about practical difference. Depending on how wisely and systematically data is used, the impact of this data on human lives is immense. This, however, also means that data can help businesses of all sizes and add real competitive value to them. Rather than imagining that only the Netflixes and the Amazons of the world can benefit from data, businesses and leaders need to understand that even smaller businesses have their own ecosystems where they can source and use data from.

In 2010, Google’s Eric Schmidt made a shocking revelation. The world was producing more data in two days at that point than all the information available till 2003 at that point. That’s where began the quest. The quest to devise new ways to capture, source, analyse, assimilate, handle and leverage this voluminous data would soon become an entire industry in itself. Little did humanity know!

Part of this buzz is the Internet of Things (IoT) or what is sometimes also known as the Internet of Everything (IoE). Various devices that collect and transmit data have only recently started penetrating our lives and the market is predicted to grow to humongous volumes. By 2020, 50 billion devices are predicted to be connected to the internet. These devices include smartphones, Fitness Bands, TV, Fridge, Smartwatches, GPS trackers and more.

The impact of IoT is that devices produce, transmit and collect vast amounts of data, preferences, service needs and that human life would soon be transformed. Your smart fitness band will predict how much milk you need to consume on a daily basis, your fridge will collate the data from all the fitness bands in the family, and place an order automatically using your smartphone, when your fridge runs out of milk.

The Debate revolves primarily around safety and ethics. How much data is enough data? Is it only the businesses that will benefit from the Big Data, or does the consumer benefit too? What’s the impact of Big Data on those who still live in abject poverty? What about the intrusion that devices might soon have in the human life? What about the whole dystopian future that seems to have been showcased in books, movies, or say series like ‘Black Mirror’? Whatever may the debate be, one thing is for sure. This isn’t slowing down. Not in the near future. Any future beyond the near future is anyway too late. In fact, it’s too late already.

The way out is not to panic, or to control, but to moderate and build capacity. The benefits are immense. For the businesses, it is an opportunity to service their customers better. For the consumer, it’s an opportunity to have easier and high-value lives. Businesses will benefit from data in the three critical areas – decision making, operations and monetizing the data itself.

Some industries that would obviously benefit from Big Data are healthcare, Retail, Banking and Financial Services (B&FS) , Manufacturing, Education, Transportation and Logistics, Agriculture and Farming, Energy, Government and Public Sector Services, Sports, Hospitality, Food & Beverages (F&B) and Professional Services.

There is also an entire industry that has evolved around data. It includes Software giants like Microsoft, Manufacturing companies like Apple, Retail companies like Amazon. Social Platform like Facebook, Media company like Google, Sharing Economies like Uber, AirBnB etc. These companies have access to so much data that regardless of what their primary business maybe, their Big Data is also an entire business for them.

To conclude, the smarter the world gets, the more data becomes a key business asset. The ability to turn data into insights becomes the key to competitive advantage and every business, regardless of what their size is, becomes a data business. A robust data strategy needs to be designed so that business leaders can harness data in their organization, make smarter decisions, and streamline and improve performance, operations and win.

In a following post or two, we will try to bring you some interesting case studies related to Big Data, and share more insights with you. Till then, we look forward to hearing from you. In the meanwhile, here's another interesting article for you about The Threats and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence.