Big Data: How to Cope With It

We are accumulating data at a truly alarming rate:

  • Loyalty cards
  • Phone bills
  • Search queries
  • E-mails
  • Blog posts

You name it, it has data and it is all being squirreled away.  Gigabytes, Terabytes and Petabytes of it.  Before long there will be Yottabytes of the damn stuff.  Big Data.

A new world full of opportunity

We had the gold rush, then the oil rush, next will be the data rush.

Obviously, to cash in on the rush, you need the tools. Software companies are wringing their hands with glee at the idea of selling you:

  • Decision engines
  • Text miners
  • Spacial analysers
  • Construct classifiers

How did you ever survive without your first artificial neural network?

The era of small data

Before you dive in and spend thousands answer this question…

Two years ago, in the era of “small data”, was lack of data holding your business back?  Or, even then, were you data blind, lost and bemused, casting about in a torrent of numbers and confusion?

Be honest, giving your boss more data is like throwing a drowning man a bucket of water.

Lack of data isn’t the bottleneck, knowing what to do with it is.

Tools are not the answer

Yes the software companies will sell you an all singing all dancing system to do all your operations analysis for you.  Just like PowerPoint improved business presentations…

Big Data may need Big Computers, but what it really needs is people who know what to do with it.  People who can:

Have you got anybody like that?

If you have, could you drop their names in the comments box below?  I have invested in a construct classifier, but I am not entirely sure what it is telling me.

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Big Data

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  1. HEllo James

    You have just pointed out the Achilles Heel of data whether that is bid data or small data. First the people that are needed to make sense of the data are in short supply. So much so that if you are any good at this then you can name your price and it is not going to be less than £100,000. Second, the number of managers/organisations that are set-up to do anything meaningful with data driven insights are also in short supply.


  2. Hi James,
    As far as I concerned I think Big Data is just another ‘shiny object’. Yes, there is a lot of it about but no amount of extra data is going to tell you that a person values a good deal, great service and a human touch.

    Perhaps, we should focus on getting the simple things right first don’t you think?


    • James Lawther says:

      I couldn’t agree more. For some reason though we are fascinated by what could be rather than making what we have already work for us



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