Big data only matters if you have a question


Everybody is talking about “big data”. The possibilities of collecting, generating & storing data are endless. Because of its popularity, big data is also more and more becoming a buzz. It has assumed such a variety of terms that it big date has become an unclear term if it is not further specified. When somebody is talking about big data, chances are slim that everybody in the room is thinking about the same thing.

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Today, every company feels the need to start using big data. Everybody is talking about it, more and more companies are doing it, hence we need to use it as well ! But often they forget a very important thing

…data on its own is meaningless. The value of data is not the data itself – it’s what you do with the data.

First you need to know what data you need and only after that you should start collecting. Because why would you put so much energy and effort in collecting data that you cannot use to deliver relevant business insights?

Many people try to start with the solution; “we need to use big data”, rather than start with the problem. In order to have a successful data strategy, you need to begin with defining the insights needed to identify the pathways towards growth, otherwise you will drown in all the data available. The focus should always lie on the questions and not on the solution. Big data can offer many answers but it will always require a person to frame the question, identify the data that will be able to provide an answer and interpret the obtained results. Then these results can be used to create a strategy that can add value to your business.

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For example, if you wish to enter the weight management market, questions you will need answers to might be, ‘How many people are overweight?’, ‘how many people are interested in losing weight?’, ‘what is the average income of these people?’ and so on. Identifying what needs to be done in order to collect this data will then be a lot easier.

Everybody now has the opportunity to use data. Availability is not the issue anymore. However answers to things that don’t matter, won’t bring you any further. If you focus on the relevant questions first, and tackle them with big data, then the power of data will be of great value to your company.

By: Melanie Pieters, 420914MP

References:

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6868-5-things-about-big-data-small-businesses-don-t-understand.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/08/25/big-data-too-many-answers-not-enough-questions/

http://blog.minitab.com/blog/understanding-statistics/everyones-talking-big-data-but-size-is-not-what-matters

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One response to “Big data only matters if you have a question”

  1. Nico says :

    Concise, informative article that confirms a problem many companies are facing: how to actually make money from “big data”.

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