Big Data = Better Decisions (right?)

How can you turn big data into better decisions?

If you have ever gone fishing, you probably released more fish then you kept. Maybe you cut loose countless sunfish, or if you were fishing in the ocean, maybe it was dogfish. When you’re fishing, it is pretty easy to determine what you want to keep and what you want to throw back. Big data is very similar, when you have the right tools in place.

Did you know that in 2012, Google received over 2 million search queries per minute. Fast forward to 2014 and that number has more than doubled. Today, Google receives over 4 million search queries per minute from the 2.4 billion strong global internet population. That is just one statistic that tells the story of the data explosion we are experiencing today.

Let’s put this into perspective. Every minute

  • Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content.
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
  • Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.
  • Apple users download nearly 50,000 apps.
  • Email users send over 200 million messages.
  • Amazon generates over $80,000 in online sales.

Clearly, data is increasing every year from blogs, social media, mobile, etc. If you are like most of the executives I speak with, you are overwhelmed by the incredible amount of data you have, which could potentially give you a competitive advantage; how do you make sense of all of it? Think of it like taking a fishing boat out to sea. The ocean has billions of creatures, just like business have access to terabytes of structured and unstructured data from many different sources; that data can be harvested, like sea creatures.

The boat can cast a net to collect as much data as it can. When you pull up those nets, there is a different mix of fish (and creatures), just like the data businesses have collected. The key is to collect as much as you can and then separate the data into meaningful segments, just like a fisherman explores the catch to determine which is most valuable fish. Similarly to big data, you need to know what is in the terabytes of information. What if you had a tool that could help you browse, create models, seek potential relationships, and identify pattern sets across the data sets?

Once the fisherman (or fisherwoman) has explored the catch, it is clear that there are lots of valuable fish, so they clean them up and set them aside, reducing the catch to something more manageable. This is similar to using an algorithm to cleanse the data and take out the meaningful data sets. The rest of the data catch can sit in a reserve for later use. The key to big data is being able to combine structured data with data from new sources which would normally be ignored; when these are combined, you can turn data into actionable intelligence, like a fisherman knowing which ports pay the most for a particular catch.

When you leverage technology to provide clarity into big data you make better business decisions. You are probably not a fisherman (or fisherwoman), but in business there are many ways to gain a competitive advantage by using the insights that big data provides.

Commercial fishing is a tough business, with only a small population in the industry, so you are probably looking for a more relevant example. Since it is shopping season, let’s start with a retail example:

  • Retailers are able to use customer data and social media feeds to micro segment their customer base, using sentiment analysis to offer targeted offers and programs, which delivers better revenue and margins…and most importantly, happy customers. (That’s right, big data = better CX)
  • Financial companies can analyze location information, social media comments, and spend patterns to identify fraudulent transaction attempts so they can make key decisions, like when to lock down a credit card. (Amex if you’re listening, this would be a good time to lock down my CC…my wife thinks she’s Santa)
  • In healthcare, providers can use sensors to gather information from thousands of patients that can be analyzed together with patient records to help doctors to decide when to intervene. (Yes – big data can save lives…and money, too)

While on the topic of money…Oracle offers a complete, integrated solution for acquiring, organizing, and analyzing big data so you can turn big data into better decisions.

If you would, think about this: The big data industry is poised to grow to a $25 billion industry in 2015 and $50 billion by 2017. So, what does this mean to you? Getting back to the fishing analogy, if this type of growth was representative of a gravitation towards a new brand of fish tracking technology, I bet you’d buy it to keep up with your competition! How could you possibly expect to catch as many fish as everyone else without the advanced tracking technology they’re using? If I have a high tech boat with a fish-finder GPS and the best fishing rods on the market and you’re out there on a canoe with a spear, who is going to catch more fish?

Isn’t it time to ditch the spear and canoe and jump on technologically advanced fishing vessel that is helping organizations turn the sea of big data into meaningful (and valuable) segments?

Oracle Sailing

Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts!


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