Are you concerned about Big Data?
By Sandra De Silva, Managing Director and Chief Software Architect, Nova Ltd
‘Big Data’ is a term that’s gained a lot of traction recently, but what does it actually mean and more importantly, what does it mean for businesses in Bermuda?
Big Data is a term applied to structured and unstructured data sets whose size makes them unmanageable using conventional software tools for the management, capture, analysis and processing.
There are many reports and articles discussing the huge volume of data we all consume, whether it be the growth of internet, 24-hour news and the constant access via our mobiles to information churn through e-mail, twitter, social networking sites and text messages. And, that’s before we even step into the workplace!
Within the work environment, we’ve always stored data about our customers, prospects, partners, competitors, pipeline and so forth, but beyond this critical transactional data lies less structured data that can also be mined for useful information. With this in mind, many of us are storing ever increasing amounts of data to gain the valuable intelligence that sits within.
Thankfully the human brain is very elastic and for the most part does a fabulous job of adapting to the daily data onslaught and filters appropriately so we don’t overload. Unfortunately, for the electronic data we store, it’s not that simple.
While throwing storage at a growing data set will help the problem of where to put it, standard business analysis tools are not designed to search and analyse such large data sets so the value is at best hard to access but unfortunately often lost.
It’s for this reason I strongly recommend our local companies keep abreast of the latest technologies and practices to gain business advantage through best use of their data. This needn’t cost you money. Many of the tools companies are using already require only a small tweak away from the ‘out-of-the-box’ settings to unleash a whole new level of processing power and analytics.
On our beautiful island we have a host of industries, many requiring even more data than the standard requirements I’ve suggested above. Within insurance, ‘Big Data’ can help differentiate the claims experience, provide more information around risk and exposures and provide real time analytic insights. Within banking, the need to tighten belts and find the best opportunity to grow revenue at the lowest cost can be found among that data, along with optimising the customer experience with highly targeted marketing campaigns.
For healthcare, it’s possible to architect data to offer institutionwide analysis of cases to identify opportunities to improve patient care whilst also saving money. For every industry, there’s an example and it benefits both the consumer and the bottom line.
McKinsey & Company recently reported on the five broad ways in which well-managed Big Data can create value, which I summarise here:
- Unlock significant value by making information transparent and usable
- Expose variability and boost performance
- Offer more precisely tailored products or services
- Improve decision making
- Improve development of the next generation of products and services
With the demand for Big Data talent growing almost exponentially there’s quite likely to be a shortage as the skills catch up with demand. Therefore, now’s the time to enable your staff, unlock the technology you own and access the intelligence that sits within your data!