BYOBD – Bring Your Own Big Data

What can Big Data and Bring your own device (BYOD) teach us? Has big data peaked?  Howard Borland, at, writes

The big data phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. Like any good journalist looking for blood in the water, I’m waiting for the backlash just as we’ve seen with other new technologies, such as BYOD.

Google trends shows BYOD plateaued after 12-18 months, but Big data is growing strong and nearly four times bigger, with no sign of slowing.

What’s going on? Let’s look at some related trends – Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence.

Data Warehousing was declining, but dropped more when big data took off. Can we say “re-branding?” I wonder how many companies just changed their messaging to ride the big data wave? Interestingly the broader term “Business Intelligence” has declined much more slowly. Seems that you can discard a technology like “data warehousing” but you can’t just discard your intelligence quite as easily. Almost seems like as the world gets more complex businesses are becoming less intelligent.

Let’s look more closely at that flippant remark. Are companies less intelligent? With this year’s big data surveys – Gil Press nicely summarizes this year’s surveys. At first, the result look like nearly any survey “xx respondants say they are engaged in…big data.” But, Bain & Company found:

…those with the most advanced analytics capabilities outperform their competitors by wide margins.

  • Twice as likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance within their industries
  • Five times as likely to make decisions much faster than market peers
  • Three times as likely to execute decisions as intended
  • Twice as likely to use data very frequently when making decisions.

Bain and Company’s findings show us the most intelligent companies, understand data analysis drives results.

Perhaps despite the big data term hype and over-use, bottom-line-results still rule. By all means, bring your own big data (BYOBD) definition, but don’t forget the data analysis.

Social Impact on Big Data

red-wood-ant-4398_640-300x225BizKnowlogy recently guest blogged on PreScouter, click for the full article.

Summary: Social Marketers are using big data to drive eyeballs and shopping carts. You are the product. The simple goal: treat you like an ant. Put sugar directly in front, and like the ant, you will consume it quickly. People are not ants. To understand people you need to look at all the social relationships. You cannot just dig up the ant nest and peer into all the tunnels.  You need other big data tools to examine the many ways people interact to form a complex social web.

The Good News, “..the trends are clear; it will be possible to re-shape our world. BIG DATA is getting BIGGER and BETTER.  Our SOCIAL awareness is following the same trajectory sociologists followed. We are shifting from understanding INDIVIDUALS to GROUPS to CITIES and beyond.  We are shifting from counting things and individual behaviors to understanding connections across large groups.”


Masthead image via qthomasbower @ flikr

Harpooning Big Data

Slaying the white whale on a stormy sea of big data, for most companies is like the fictional story of Captain Ahab’s Moby Dick. The term Big Data has suddenly become en vogue. And like its sister term “The Cloud” – these all encompasing terms are a mystery and elusive to everyone. For businessman and executives, its the holy grail. For the technical experts and data scientists its the next big project with hyped expectations. So what is big data? If you want wikipedia’s answer – click here.  But here’s my simple explanation.

The old ways of dealing with data do not work.  Exponential growth of applications, smart devices and just about anything with a sensor or computer chip creates “Data” — a whole ocean’s worth! While the ocean of data is getting bigger, Moby Dick by comparison is getting smaller. And that’s the real problem;  a real “Big” problem.   You don’t need to be a whaler to understand that means we need to get better at spotting whale sign. We need better sonar and radar (pattern recognition systems) and we need faster boats to cover more ocean (and process more data).

In a very real sense, Big Data is anything that is trying to harpoon Moby Dick.