Big Data: Making the most of the revolution

N°237a – Synopsis (8p.) – Technology
Big Data:  Making the most of the revolution
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Beyond the capacity to process gigantic volumes of data, Big Data creates opportunities that are still largely untapped. How can you take advantage of this huge field of innovation?

All business leaders today are aware that they should be concerned about “Big Data.” Articles abound to emphasize the huge potential of new information processing capabilities: new offers, strategic breakthroughs, organizational revolutions, etc.

Yet, few know where to start. Should the company buy more powerful computers to handle the growing volume of available data? Should it recruit data scientists capable of navigating through these masses of information? If so, where should their energies be focused, and what can be learned from them?

If Big Data is a revolution, it’s because organizations can now process in real time volumes of data that are not only massive, but also in disparate formats and from various sources. Big data is what enables cities to adjust traffic lights in real time based on geolocation data from mobile phone operators, or a web site to offer you targeted ads at just the right time based on your navigation history, stated preferences on social networks and physical location.

Although the potential of Big Data may easily be glimpsed, launching such projects remains a challenge. How can you identify, in the mass of available data, which are really sources of value creation? The experience of the pioneers in this field highlights three key success factors:

- Adopt an exploratory approach: Opportunities abound, the hard part is identifying the most relevant projects.

- Foster collaboration between experts and operational employees: obtaining results requires close interaction between operational professionals and data processing experts.

- Think past the borders of your organization. Big Data projects often gain from collaboration with external partners, customers—and even competitors!

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