Probably like many of you, the Cray team likes to debate and muse about industry trends when we meet over lunch or drinks. I enjoy our banter – it’s part of what makes it so much fun to work at Cray. In that spirit, I wanted to share some of what I’ve found most interesting in a few posts about what I call “big data advantage.”
By now, we’re pretty used to hearing about the potential of big data: new breakthroughs, unforeseen opportunities, and disruptive industry impact. And although there have been serious advancements, most businesses still struggle to take full advantage of big data. In fact, I’m sometimes reminded of a line from “The Big Lebowski,” where the Dude says, “It’s down there somewhere. Let me take another look.”
So let’s do that.
First, what do companies expect the impact of big data to be?
Well, it seems to be a combination of opportunity and disruption. For example, below are a few representative statistics around the influence of big data in the near future.
- 450 billion internet transactions per day by 2020 (IDC)
- $1.9 trillion economic value, add from the sale and use of IoT technology (Gartner, Dec. 2014)
- 50 percent of enterprises will compete using advanced analytics by 2018, causing the disruption of entire industries (Gartner 100 Data and Analytics Predictions, March 2016)
Second, what are organizations really looking to get out of big data?
Considering the above, organizations may initially feel the urgency to just keep up in such a dynamic environment, but then they quickly look to use advantages from within their information in a few key areas: customer experience, stakeholder engagement, business models, efficiencies and new opportunities. So, what kind of payoff is there for companies that seize their big data advantage? A report by PwC (2015) shows that companies that join the “information elite” see:
- Significantly improved productivity
- Better customer experience, leading to improved retention and increased sales
- Much more effective and faster business decision making based on hard evidence
Creating a big data advantage requires companies to leverage their information effectively to make decisions with near immediacy, continuously pivot strategy and tactics and merge streams of inquiries into meaningful action. Collectively, we sometimes call this high-frequency insights. I believe it represents the competitive advantage in today’s frenetic business landscape.
However, we are seeing the sheer size and complexity of big data creating a tipping point, overwhelming conventional enterprise systems. And to unleash the full promise of big data, a new approach is required — one that delivers agility and performance while maintaining an enterprise-accessible format. I’ll write more about the hurdles to creating a big data advantage in my next post.