Has the hype around big data passed? Many seem to think so. It looks like big data has become one of those things that were once popular. You know, like the Walkman.
Andrew White of Gartner makes a very important distinction.
“Last year, Gartner retired the big data hype cycle. […] If you didn’t already know, most of the contents of the big data hype cycle already existed, or now exists, on other more context specific hype cycles.”
As the technologies are becoming more affordable, companies look for new ways to apply analytics to make the most of business opportunities. What we have been witnessing lately is a shift towards smarter ways to utilize big data, not its demise.
Studies confirm companies are now relying more on experts to understand and leverage analytics, and that the financial potential remains very high. It is not just about the capacity to analyze large amounts of information. It is about finding those bits that make the difference and using them to boost performance.
Research firm IDC predicts revenue from the sales of big data and analytics applications, tools, and services will increase by more than 50%, from nearly $122 billion in 2015 to more than $187 billion in 2019. Interestingly so, services will account for more than half of all revenue by 2019. It means most companies will be using big data technology in conjunction with expert knowledge.
With the right know-how, business engineering, and business tools, organizations are becoming increasingly successful at making predictions, and transforming them into actual results.
The smart data concept has been around for some time but is now evolving into a stand-alone, mature context.
Here are six main features that transform big data into smart data:
- Smart data is multidimensional. It has to work across systems, devices, geographies, and hierarchies. Whether starting from a map, chart, table of raw data, a dashboard or a report, any user can now access information with a few clicks to help make informed decisions. Here’s a quick example of how a leading manufacturing company enabled users to analyze data and enhance decision-making capabilities.
- Smart data is real-time data. Users at every level, from executives to local channel managers, have to be able to access information and drive business strategy promptly. In almost any industry, delays can prove very costly. As it is often the case, ask yourself the question: is my pace too slow, or is the market that moves faster? Make sure you stay aligned to the latest standards.
- Smart data is predictive. Test your smart data algorithms in real-life scenarios, and fine tune your approach until you maximize forecast accuracy. As your organization builds confidence over smart data modeled scenarios, you will eliminate the time decision makers spend on reaching a viable conclusion. Not only will it improve business outcomes, but it will also reduce the cost of getting there.
- Smart data helps model multiple business scenarios at once. When everybody in the market is using big data technology, those who can extract the most value out of their underlying data will make the difference. One way to differentiate yourself is by enabling business users to simulate multiple scenarios; this way, smart data analytics will deliver options in the decision-making process, and provide valuable insight into future needs. This will eliminate the need for multiple iterations post-deployment, saving time and money, while enhancing sales performance.
- Smart data is actionable. Organizations need to be able to drill deeply for specific answers that will help them choose the winning strategies. The problem is that not all answers are conclusive. Make sure to layer on top of big data the kind of industry expertise that will allow one particular result to stand out. If you cannot define the course of action quickly, then your big data is not smart enough.
- Smart data is readily available. As mobile as you are, smart data needs to go with you everywhere. If you cannot reach that critical bit of information at the right moment, chances are opportunities will go to the competition. Empower your sales team by enabling access from any device, at any time, and instill a culture of collaborative approaches, where smart data generates smart results.
According to IDC, there will be significant investments in big smart data over the next couple of years, especially in banking, manufacturing, retail, and telecom. Be sure to do it the smart way to minimize your investment, and maximize your results.
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