Let’s face it – we live in a data-driven world. It’s actually always been that way. Businesses of all sizes have long understood that knowing what their customers want enables them to deliver a product that that meets or exceeds expectations. But now, data has gone into overdrive. Data is the Big Daddy of decision-making in organisations across the globe. At BiD Masters, we believe big data is big business and it represents big opportunities.
Big data is a combination of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data collected by organisations that can be mined for information and used in machine-learning projects, predictive modelling and other advanced analytics applications. Let’s move swiftly past the rabbit hole of blaming the giants – Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and the likes – for trampling all over our right to privacy and scraping and selling our information. It’s not just them doing it. While it doesn’t make it any less worrying, big data comes from myriad sources – transaction processing systems, customer databases, documents, emails, medical records, internet clickstream logs, mobile apps and social networks, just to name a few. But how is all this information used?
We’re surrounded by a vast ocean of data, but it’s not much use to us until we dip our nets into the water to catch an understanding of what the data means. This is where big data analytics comes in. Big Data analytics is all about using complex processing on large volumes of data to procure gainful insights and information. But gainful for whom?
Big data is a lot more than Facebook serving us up personalised advertising, although Netflix’s claims its algorithms save around US$1 billion a year in value from customer retention. There’s no denying big data has made concepts such as “what consumers want” more measurable, but it offers far more than that.
In healthcare, big data is helping detect disease in the early stages; in the banking sector, it aids in recognising activities like money laundering; it’s contributing to useful research into global warming; live mapping systems use big data; and freight is shifted around the world with it. From maps to apps and business insight to advanced healthcare, big data has become the building blocks of the world around us. Even governments are getting in on the act.
Government agencies have always collected large amounts of data, but they haven’t always been efficient in using it. Setting aside the debate around ethical information use and conspiracy theories around governmental control, there are plenty of positives of pairing big data analytics with government agencies, such as reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies or using data-driven technology to improve resource allocation within emergency services. In Chicago, data-driven crime forecasting has coincided with a drop in gun violence; the Australian Electoral Commission uses data simulations to investigate electoral fraud; and big data is being used in the battle against coronavirus to create models and predict hotspots for the disease, informing government responses across the globe. In the UK, the Government’s National Data Strategy reinforces the requirement to access and interrogate government data more effectively to improve services.
Companies involved in big data collection and analysis and associated hardware and software suppliers are likely looking at a rosy future.
In the UK, for example, the Crown Commercial Service is planning to set up a procurement framework for big data and analytics services with a projected value of up to £2 billion. It has published a procurement notice saying it intends to put in place a pan-government collaborative agreement that it will be the recommended vehicle for all big data and analytics required by central government and available for the wider public sector. (If you need help with your proposal for this framework, please contact BiD Masters.)
According to Statista, the global big data market is forecasted to grow to US$ 103 billion by 2027. It doesn’t take much analysis to see the opportunities.