Big data and quality management

OCTOBER 27, 2011 – Market researchers are often busy in the months leading up to an election – taking the pulse of voter sentiment can be an asset to politicians as they try to figure out how the majority of voters plan to cast their ballots and shift public opinion in their favor.

Analyzing all the data that is collected from polls, debates and voter behavior is one of the most important jobs within a presidential campaign, according to the Spotfire blog run by TIBCO. The insights that can be gleaned from these mountains of numbers and names include “how they’ll vote, if they’ll donate to a particular campaign and whether they’ll try to persuade their nearest and dearest to vote for one candidate over another,” the source says.

Some of the tactics that President Barack Obama’s camp is hoping to adopt include data mining, predictive modeling and methods for combining data collected on social media websites with information gathered from sources offline, the blog notes.

But with great amounts of data comes a great need for storing and analyzing everything a company gathers. McKinsey Quarterly describes how big data can also help a commercial organization gain a better understanding of how its customers behave and how its resources are being distributed and used across the enterprise.

The source reports that big data can be utilized in a variety of industries, and can even create new business opportunities for some. It points to a transport company that was able to discern “vast amounts of information on global product shipments” through its daily activities, so it was able to sell that asset to other companies who used it for economic and business forecasts.

However, McKinsey asserts that there can also be complications when harnessing the power of big data. There will be a great drain on talent as more organizations start demanding employees capable of finding meaning in all the numbers. Companies will also have to address their ability to keep what they collect secure, as maintaining privacy will continue to prove challenging.

IT Business Edge acknowledges that the rise of big data will also transform operations internally.

“CIOs can expect big data to also have a huge impact on how IT interacts with the rest of the company. That’s because it will change how business users perceive data and use it,” the source says. The technology department will now be partnering with the customer relations and marketing sectors in order to turn the large quantities of data into actionable information.