Big data and data analytics have generated lots of buzz over the last few years. You can attend conferences on it, read books about it, and follow a steady stream of related news. Investors, inventors, and tech corporations are chasing after this huge and growing market that IDC estimates that it will reach $187 Billion by 2019.
Everyone is tracking information about everything these days—or so it seems. What you view. What you buy. Where you go. Who you connect with. It used to be that just big government tracked this kind of information about select people. Now it is big businesses, start-ups, all types of business are tracking all types of information about all of us—and about everything. The burgeoning IoT (Internet of Things) industry is adding tracking capabilities to any and every kind of device. We're transitioning into a society that will track billions of people, zillions of things, and bajillions of transactions.
That's a lot of information to sort through. Every big technology company and many, many smaller ones are rushing to provide the world with tools that make sense of all this. Yeah, I keep my thermostat at 79 degrees in the summer, but what are you going to do with that data? How is it going to change your business model? Your marketing plan? What does all this extra data really buy you as an organization?
Beyond the Orwellian implications of all this, I find the possibilities created by intelligent data analysis fascinating. The potential to identify and address systemic deficiencies in organizations of all shapes and sizes is huge. Just think—what if big government used all their data gathering skills to improve operational efficiencies? Improved programs. Reduced deficit. I don't know, perhaps I'm getting too utopian now.
On a much lighter note, I was recently doing some consulting work that involved social media research. It inspired me to do some investigation into my own LinkedIn connections. I ended up pulling together a profile of my professional network based on what I learned. I enjoyed the process and found the results interesting. Check it out:
What does the profile of your LinkedIn network look like? How is big data and data analytics impacting your life? Your business? What what you like to have more data on? Better data on? What would you do with it?
* Serious data analysis shows that data analytics lands in a middle quartile on the Fun Things of Life scale. But despite its medial ranking it can (when done right) still be consider fun.