A few months back, Gartner placed big data at the peak of its hype cycle for cloud computing, meaning most big data products are solutions looking for a problem. I always find this bad entrepreneurial habit to be one of the most frustrating of our industry. Having recently joined Meltwater as head of marketing and product (BTW Meltwater is hiring marketing and product managers!), I think a lot about big data and how to unleash it’s value to solve important business problems, because that is our business. How does big data go from “so what” to “must have”?
The Big Data Challenge
Big data is a by-product of the Internet and the ever increasing power of computers. Kind of like petroleum sludge. We know there must be great value buried within this vast, raw resource, but the challenge lies in figuring out how to turn it into something useful like plastic, or the other thousands of petroleum products that we produce from the 20% of crude oil that can’t be turned into fuel.
This is no small feat. I can confidently predict that there will be no shortage of well-intentioned, well-funded start-ups that fail to live up to this challenge, producing varying versions of gift-wrapped sludge that never quite deliver on the promises of their pitches. Overcoming the hype and producing real value from big data requires much more than data-processing infrastructure. It requires a laser-like focus on creating order-of-magnitude improvements to how we work and live.
Reengineering Across the Firewall
More than a year ago, McKinsey and Company predicted that big data would be “The Next Frontier of Innovation, Competition and Productivity.” Now, I’m not generally one to argue with the likes of McKinsey, especially in this case as I happen to agree with it. If you have the time, I highly recommend checking out the report. At 156 pages, however, it can be a little hard to digest, so I thought I’d fearlessly attempt to boil it down to a blog post by sharinig a little of how we think about the Big Data Challenge @Meltwater.
Big data implies a shift in real-time access to valuable information outside the firewall.
It offers the opportunity to reengineer business processes that cross the firewall
and that benefit greatly from this information, such as competitive strategy,
sales, customer support, vendor management, employee recruiting, etc.
Cloud-based businesses create value in one of two ways: Read more »