Most businesses have already invested in infrastructure and people to make data-driven decisions. New analytics tools and skills need to provide incremental value both now and in the future to justify new investment.

After 20 years of working in data analytics I have seen many situations in which recognising the new world and stepping boldly in gives significant financial benefit. Understanding generates knowledge, and knowledge can become power.

So why is understanding Big Data critical to your business?


1. The way in which people communicate has changed

Verbal conversations, and paper letters have transitioned to electronic messages at a scale many times larger. One-to-one interaction has become one-to-many and characterised by the brevity, speed and frequency with which information is digitally exchanged using instant messaging, sms, email and social networks.

Many successful businesses have placed themselves at the centre of this cultural shift, with today’s remote and data orientated personal relationships changing how consumers prefer to do business.

Many businesses have multiple components of a single overall customer interaction sitting in disparate internal systems that have not historically been able to speak to each other – this data must be joined to effect understanding and action.

Old technology has a tendency towards simplified point-in-time reporting. Big Data advanced analytics are more insight focused, allow complex data to be easily joined and behaviours modelled to provide informative and compelling insights.


2. We all have direct access to technology

Companies historically exchanged batches of messages between proprietary systems.

Consumers now own a proliferation of internet-connected devices with which THEY can initiate many single messages exchanged across open networks. The messages also have a more varied and potentially unknown content.

These messages express individual customer needs and contain new value that can be gleaned using Machine Learning algorithms. The Big Data ecosystem can better create tailored customer management strategies and new data products.


 3. New data is being generated exponentially faster

New units of data sizes are being invented all the time – what was considered large last year becomes relatively small this year. New channels such as mobile generate data hundreds of times larger than traditional channels.

High consumer expectations of speed, quality of service and price mean that effective selling requires much larger data sets to be processed, stored and acted upon in real-time to meet these needs.

Those businesses working at scale to use all available data in creating the most relevant and timely customer insights possible will make better decisions and get better financial results.



Traditional database technology was developed before these fundamental changes occurred and has a reporting focus.

The Big Data ecosystem has been purpose built to provide insight and action from larger data sets and to cost-effectively solve challenging business problems.

Businesses operating in markets that demand continually improving services, products and price should make a fit-for-purpose decision. Whatever the choice building a clear understanding of increasingly complex customer behaviours is key to success.