Moving beyond the hype means that the dust starts to settle down and one starts to see clearer. We definitely moved beyond the stage where one might doubt if big data is a new trend or a fad. There’s too many proofpoints that have shown the transformational potential of analyzing huge amounts of data that could have neither been done manually nor with traditional data warehousing or business intelligence means. Let me just pick two examples today that affect society at large:
- Obama’s last presidential campaign leveraged a team of 100 data scientists to mine every information about supporters and potential voters it could get hold of and combined that insight with “social business” by smartly leveraging the campaign’s friends on Facebook. Those working on that campaign said they think they were four years ahead of the Republicans. And as if to confirm how important big data has become for everyone who needs to understand his supporters or “clients”, we can now read about the Republicans catching up, see e.g. here: WANTED: A Silicon Valley Tech Genius To Save The GOP, Gracy Wyler, http://www.businessinsider.com/republican-tech-rnc-data-digital-politics-2013-3
- Plus we see more and more that journalism changes thanks to advanced text analytic and visualization capabilities. Offshore Leaks just demonstrated that and new periodicals come into existence – see here for a call for papers on Journalism in the Era of Big Data: http://dajoresearch.blogspot.de/2013/04/digital-journalism-calls-for-papers.html
Many companies are still in the early stages of exploring how to use big data. Keeping in mind that Obama’s campaign was the second round after similiar experiences in his first campaign it becomes clear that big data will indeed be a key differentiator to compete. Those who don’t give up now (because they might have fallen in the trough of disillusionment, see Svetlana Sicular’s blog from January 2013: http://blogs.gartner.com/svetlana-sicular/big-data-is-falling-into-the-trough-of-disillusionment/) will enjoy that competitive edge in the near future.