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What does ‘Big Data’ mean to you? Not a great deal, huh? But here’s why it could be good for you and your career.
The terms ‘Big Data’ and ‘Big Data Analytics’ have emerged over recent years and means the use of massive amounts of data to make business decisions, sometimes in real time. Years ago, the ‘problem’ with data was the challenge of processing it quickly enough to answer the big business questions. Now, the problem is kind of reversed, where organizations have massive amounts of processing power, and it’s asking the right questions that is the challenge.
What this means is that asking the right question could be the breakthrough we are looking for.
What Big Data Analytics does
With the challenge of ‘back-end’ processing overcome, we can begin to ask the questions we never thought we could get the answers to, when we need them. These questions can be about making inferences, and testing them. I don’t want to get too scientific or overburdening us on the math, but we can discover the correlations between things. For example, we could ask “What color shirts sell best during a cold winter?” (because you simply know that the extremity of the winter makes a difference to consumer choices)– OK, a bit obscure, but useful if you owned a clothes store or if you are a buyer for a major outlet. Here’s another – “By how much will our Contact Centre receive more calls when the financial markets are down by more than 5% in any day where a public holiday precedes it?” (because you simply know that these factors have an influence on call volumes) – useful if you work in a Contact Centre or manage telephony infrastructure.
Historically, these questions could be answered – but not as quickly. Often, the data-driven answer we were looking for arrives too late to do anything about it. So we had to use instinct, past experiences or much less data to answer the question. The quality of the decision was poor.
Get the picture?
And with the technology organizations can establish, more and more elaborate questions can be asked and the inferences tested.
So what does ‘Big Data’ mean to You?
This is a great opportunity for us because we can now start with our professional insights into ‘what can we do to improve and become more competitive?’ and test them, refine them and build evidence to petition for change. ‘Big Data Analytics’ presents anyone, who has up until now the imagination to ask an intelligent question that has had nowhere to go, somewhere to go.
Imagination allied to intelligence – this is the key. Do you just know the link between things, even at a high level, that (once proven) could make a huge difference to your organization’s operations, sales, marketing or staffing? Then ‘Big Data Analytics’ could be your ally, because it can provide the means to give you the proof.
How is ‘Big Data’ good for our careers?
Nobody has the monopoly on good ideas. We all have our unique insights and experiences that tell us things about our organization, and how to make it work better. Improvement happens when an intelligent idea turns to a working theory which turns to a plan of action. By shaping our ideas into something that can be tested and then implemented with a defined benefit, we become ‘Thought Leaders’ in our own domain. Employers benefit from Thought Leaders, and nurture this talent.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your organization, graduate to CEO; if you have the imagination and intelligence to ask the right question, then the answer could yield massive business benefits.
You’ve just got to ask the question!
Do you have a theory you need an answer to in your organization? If this theory were to be proven, would it make a major transformation difference to your team or organization?
Share your thoughts with the community – by leaving a comment below or starting a discussion in my community forums.
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