In the last several years, business professionals have been buzzing about Big Data. It has reached fad status, which leads some to believe that data-driven business decisions are nothing more than a passing phase. As technology and data collection methods become increasingly sophisticated, however, experts agree that data will continue to be a key consideration for businesses of all sizes.
Whether or not they know it, your employees and customers experience Big Data on a daily basis. It drives the ads they see on their social media profiles, the way their favorite grocery stores are laid out, and the products that appear in their weekly shopping circulars. As the mechanisms for data collection grow, it is inevitable that it will become even more firmly embedded into daily life. Where customers go, businesses must naturally follow.
For managers and business professionals, it is increasingly more difficult to ignore Big Data. Since it has developed into a more popular concept, the data industry has expanded dramatically. A quick browse of employment websites will bring up job titles like "Data Analysis Specialist," "Data Architect" and "Data Engineer." According to a recent story from Java World, technical job websites like Dice.com have seen an enormous increase in the demand for professionals skilled in Hadoop, Python and NoSQL. The rise in data-centric jobs—and the creation of previously unheard of positions—indicates that businesses are investing heavily in data-driven methods.
Also important is the speed at which data analysis and collection tools have become available for smaller businesses. With affordable data services like Kaggle and DataLogix, Big Data isn't just for enormous corporations; it is accessible to companies of all sizes. New businesses are popping up on a regular basis, offering to combine your corporate data with external customer data to create a tailored, helpful analysis.
All signs point to a single fact: Big Data is here to stay. It is rapidly becoming integrated into every aspect of a company, from human resources to lead generation. Data collection is ubiquitous, and the companies that capitalize on its potential have a significant advantage over the competition. To see its potential, one needs only to look to companies like IBM, which improved traffic flow in Lyon, France, by using data to predict and eradicate the most congested spots, or the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, which is using a supercomputer to analyze patient information, predict potential health issues and improve care.
For managers and business leaders, the steady march toward data-driven systems should be a crucial consideration in business planning. By getting in on the ground floor and figuring out how to use Big Data to your benefit, you can avoid falling behind and missing out on potential opportunities for growth and profit.
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