Monthly Archives

January 2013

Understanding the New Skills Needed to Exploit Big Data Potential

By | Big Data, Big Data Strategies, Data Collection, Data Integration, Data Management, Innovation, Profit | No Comments

McKinsey & Company estimates that the US faces a huge shortage of people who have the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis and modeling of Big Data*.

Plus, in today’s environment, companies are using less than one-tenth of one percent of the data they could be using.  This is primarily due to a lack of understanding about how to approach the monumental volume of data being generated every day.

Structured databases are fading away as the standard means to house business data, and storage is now a commodity, so that untold amounts of data can be retained for trending and analysis.  Further, with the advent of more and different data formats, including video files, web logs, and social networking, new capabilities in staff and skills are required to exploit Big Data’s potential.

New thinking is now required of your staff so your organization can move beyond structured / linear data fields to a more conceptual approach to database marketing.  As more data is created, newer ways to capture, process, and cultivate it to work for your businesses will be required.  That thinking requires a holistic view of how to cultivate the richness to be derived from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

New thinking will also be demanded of your staff regarding modeling / analytics.  In the legacy approach to data modeling, numerous tests on subsets of variables were run iteratively until a model emerged.  The processing power and storage capacity available today has the potential to reduce the cost of building models by a factor of 10 and, at the same time, improve the predictive power of the model.  All of this can be accomplished through the application of Big Data.

In order to optimize the full value of Big Data, you’ll need to ensure your staff has the skills required to collect, analyze and apply the new insights to your organization’s specific strategy.  Big Data sources require new thinking in how to evaluate new insights for the benefit of your business’ success.  In addition, the availability of new data formats requires new methods for processing and implementing the information.  However, when approached successfully, the new data environment allows for improved modeling and reduced cost, greatly contributing to your organization’s success.

*Big Data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.

McKinsey Global Institute May 2011

VDC Blog - Skills

Collecting and Managing Digital Data Efficiently and Effectively

By | Big Data, Big Data Strategies, Data Collection, Data Integration, Data Management | No Comments

You’re faced with a growing challenge:  your organization has started to obtain sets of digital data to use within your traditional marketing programs, but your current customer data is housed in legacy systems, with some sets of data silo’ed and unavailable for integration.  How do you marry the current data sets with digital data to benefit from the power of both?

Align and integrate the data.

Now more than ever, companies are confronted with the integration of big data streams into their current repositories.  No longer are the structured databases of old the best approach to extracting the value that digital data has to offer.  New systems are available that can act as listening posts, gathering unstructured data from the Web and identifying insights on a whole host of business topics of importance to your company.  These systems, which act as a data hub of sorts, can collect and transform this unstructured data into structured datasets ready for use into existing sales/marketing processes.

Improve decision-making through the use of digital data.

Implementing a digital data hub collection process yields a number of benefits that contribute to a company’s competitive edge in the modern business environment.  Such a process will:

  • Be responsive to many different types of data, including varying formats and structures
  • Allow companies to evaluate data before making large investments in time, personnel, and funding
  • Respond swiftly to new inputs and requirements
  • Evaluate new data sources
  • Facilitate discovery of interplay between different data sources

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The structured datasets derived from a digital data hub collection process can be used to vastly improve decision-making in a number of key business areas.  Armed with a host of new knowledge, companies can:

  • Improve account preference identification
  • Transform unstructured data seamlessly into meaningful marketing insights
  • Leverage and realize the value of in-house sources with digital data


In the modern business landscape, it’s important for organizations to carve out clear identities and prove to clients and customers their superiority among competitors.  Efficiently collecting and managing the immense data at your fingertips gives your organization that competitive edge.