By Allie Philpin
Ask any business what they think will be the trends for 2014 and you can almost guarantee that on their list will be managing Big Data, and not surprisingly when you consider the amount of data that is being generated on a daily basis by organisations, large and small. Technology in 2013 took a giant step forward – it had to as more and more people moved to online, cloud, mobile, social and digital. But businesses also took a big step in realising that they could benefit from all this new data they were receiving, and the valuable information that could be extracted from Big Data.
And in the spirit of New Year tradition of predicting trends, John Lucker, principal at Deloitte, shares his insights into what he thinks will be the trends in 2014 when it comes to Big Data. We can say, fairly confidently, that Big Data has been on the lips of most company owners over the past 12 months or more; or, more succinctly, how to handle and make the most of the masses of data that’s coming into the company, and this is where Lucker starts…
1. Big Data will go from being hype to actionable insight – it’s no longer hype; Big Data is a reality that you can’t get away from, leading companies to re-focus and re-align their business processes and strategies throughout their organisation , as well as increasing investment in this area. Lucker comments: “2012 was the start of big data as a paradigm, but in 2013, the discussion around value had an important resonance with people. People started asking, ‘What is this beyond the hyperbole of the term?’”
2. More companies will start to earn from Big Data – whilst the large corporations, such as LinkedIn and Google, have based their businesses on selling data, but today, every business has a chance to make money from their data! Some will increase their profit margins based on the information they extract from their data, others will improve their bottom line by selling analytical data for a fee to customers. Lucker explains: “Companies are beginning to see their data as a revenue source in a way they have never seen it before.”
3. Visualisation tools will become a ‘must-have’ – previously the add-on for larger companies, the luxury for smaller companies, visualisation tools to handle Big Data and get the most out of it are going to be a critical investment on any IT wish list. In order to provide executives with the right information for decision-making, employees the right analytics to do their jobs more effectively, and to make the data easier to understand, as well as use, tools like SAS Visual Analytics and Tableau will deliver valuable data insights. Lucker says: “In 2014, it is now about, ‘What do we do with this data and how do we express it and visualise it?’ Visualisation allows people who are not analytics gurus to get insights out of complex stuff in a way they can absorb.”
4. Predictive analytics and machine learning will become more commonplace – predictive models, as well as prescriptive models, and machine learning technologies will become more commonplace within organisations, combining complex algorithms with the human mind to get the most from Big Data. Lucker explains: “A machine can detect certain things based on algorithms, but a human brain can sort out any inconsistencies in a way an algorithm can’t.”
So, 2013 was a year of learning about Big Data and the benefits it can bring; and 2014 will be the year for extracting valuable information from that Big Data and turning it into an actionable insight.