CIO Straight Talk - Issue 3 - 36
• Stuff that you have, and you know where it is, but you
want to know more about it.
• Stuff you think you have or believe you should have,
but you’re not quite sure where it is.
• Stuff you know you don’t have and may not even have
considered but might find if you only knew where to
look and looked long and hard enough.
The first two are easy with today’s search and data
management tools. If you organize your data more
effectively, you’ll find more stuff. When all I owned
was a filing cabinet, and the document I wanted was
buried in a sea of unfiled papers just thrown into the
cabinet, did I have a big data problem? I certainly had a
retrieval problem that was quickly sorted by indexing
and structure. And as storage requirements have grown,
so have the “retrieval” technologies, with increasingly
sophisticated structured and unstructured search
CIO Straight Talk
The last category is interesting, however: this idea that
if you analyze huge amounts of data you would find
things out that you wouldn’t have otherwise known. I’m
not saying that doesn’t happen, because it clearly does.
In the UK, you only have to look at the way the police
are analyzing crime data or globally the way the
aerospace industry correlates aircraft data to see that.
And certainly, there are a growing number of data
sources where information about your brand, products,
or services could reside, and new tools are required to
“mine” data from these diverse sources. However, I
would argue that this is just an extension of looking for
things you already know about.
A lot of companies have leapt into
social media conversations about
their brand only to make the situation
The thing is, there aren’t that many businesses that need
the level of serendipity often used to hype up “big data”
in order to drive value. Indeed, it would be good if some
organizations came to grips with the data they already
have and know they have. The arguments people often
make are around social media — that if they could mine
Facebook and Twitter and pull all that conversational
information together with buying patterns, they would
get a better view of the customer. Maybe they would.
But the real skill is working out what to do at that point
— when you actually hear that nugget of information.
That’s a people skill. That’s a business skill. “Big data
systems” aren’t going to help you with that. A lot of
companies have leapt into social media conversations
about their brand only to make the situation worse. And
frankly, is this serendipitous search even necessary?
One of the big parts of social media is the conversation,
and consumers are more open than ever about their
views on your brand, products, goods, or services.
Perhaps we should focus more on “big listening” and
Key Technologies at JLT
That is the very essence of
social enterprise — the “special
sauce” that occurs when
clients, colleagues, and
partners work together to make
the whole greater than the sum
of its parts, when that one
nugget of information shared
can make the difference in
closing a deal or delighting a
Qlickview: In-memory analytics solution
Microsoft: Publishing Technologies