Big Data and the personal device

DECEMBER 16, 2011 – There has been much talk in the marketing and advertising industries about the value of Big Data – the vast quantities of raw information gathered on customer interactions, online behavior and other activities – and how it can lead to more meaningful market research. However, there is another trend emerging in the broader business world – the “bring your own device” policy.

Since consumers have become accustomed to having instant access to websites, online video and a host of other digital content sources, they are also starting to expect that level of accessibility at work, as the EMC Corporation writes in a post for Voice and Data.

Many consumers now own smartphones and tablet computers for personal use, and companies are capitalizing on this fact by encouraging workers to also conduct business on the devices. While it lowers hardware and software costs for the organization, BYOD also creates new complications and logistical issues. 

For one thing, the policies will “create even larger stockpiles of data for IT to sift through and manage,” EMC says. Granted, that may cause headaches for the IT department, the data that they collect could give organizations even more opportunities for gaining insight on their operations and how to improve policies and processes.

Of course, this knowledge and accessibility come at a price.

“The accelerated use of consumer-style technology at work is also posing the challenge of creating huge mountains of data that isn’t being managed effectively in the absence of IT policies and processes to support it,” the corporation says. EMC points to research from the International Data Corporation, which forecasts that IT managers will soon have to manage 10 times more servers, 75 times more files and 50 times the amount of data. To complicate matters further, most of this additional data will be unstructured, meaning companies will need to have employees who can process the files and from there extract market research, actionable metrics and other analytics that provide some meaning to what’s being collected.

Finding the right people will also be a challenge, as EMC discovered in a separate study released earlier this month. According to the EMC Data Science Study, just one-third of responding companies said they were able to use their data to get a leg up on the competition, to improve productivity, to inform their business decisions and to gain more insight into customers’ thought processes.

Also concerning was the discovery that 65 percent of surveyed data science professionals think there will be a greater demand for their skill set than the supply of talent in the next five years. 

According to a study from Teradata that was released in September, Big Data will also be a major influence on digital marketing optimization. The company conducted a survey of quantitative analysts and experts, who named the opportunities for improving digital marketing – through attribution, web analytics and other metrics – as the top impact multistructured data would have. The respondents also put data exploration and discovery – including finding new markets – and fraud detection and prevention, such as checking website integrity, on their list. Social network and relationship analysis (i.e. crowdsourcing and influencer marketing) and machine-generated data analytics, like that created by location-based intelligence, were other capabilities that would be impacted by Big Data.

“To get value from Big Data, ‘quants’ or data scientists are becoming analytic innovators who create tremendous business value within an organization, quickly exploring and uncovering game-changing insights from vast volumes of data, as opposed to merely accessing transactional data for operational reporting,” said Randy Lea, the vice president of Teradata’s Aster Center of Innovation.