Big Data StrategiesInnovationUncategorized

Understanding “Big Data”

By July 2, 2012 No Comments

So much is being written lately about “Big Data,” and the huge business opportunities that accompany this emerging science.

The Venture Development Center, Inc. works in the heart of what is known as “Big Data.”  As such, and as a result of having worked to develop Big Data strategies with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in the space, we have a unique perspective.

To understand the business opportunities associated with Big Data, some historical background is necessary.  Although it is hard to imagine, before 1975, there was no computerized information being used for business decision-making. It was not until the mid-1970s that the power of computing became sufficient to create practical, albeit limited, computer-based data assets. Before the mid-seventies, there were no computer-based credit bureaus, no computer-based marketing lists, etc. In this early period, most of the current providers of information services were launched, including Acxiom, InfoGroup, Nielsen, Catalina Marketing, Harte-Hanks, and LexisNexis. These companies led the way and, collectively, created the Information Service Industry.

The next milestone in the evolution of this industry occurred in April 1993. That is the date that Mosaic shipped the first commercial Internet browser.  To put the world of Big Data into perspective, between the dawn of the information services industry (mid-1970s) and the shipment of the first browser (April 1993), about 1 billion gigabytes of data were created and stored that described people and business behavior.

Due to the increasing power of computing and the ever-increasing volume of data being collected through digital means, by 2003, 5 billion gigabytes of data were collected and stored about business and consumer behavior.

Today, we collect and store over 5 billion gigabytes of data about the behavior of businesses and consumers every day, and this volume is still growing exponentially.  Within this reality lies VDC’s business opportunity.

Due to this rapid growth in the amount of data captured and stored about human behavior, there exists a very inefficient marketplace for this new, yet valuable and available data. The decision systems of corporations– large and small – simply have no means to examine all the data available and determine what data can transform their decision making process. Conversely, the companies large and small that own the data have no means to identify what firms need it. This problem is further complicated by the need to have a powerful analytics engine that can extract from this massive pool of available data the insights needed to support a particular business use case.

In addition, there is an added complexity that this process needs constant vigilance — when you think you have the process mastered, every day there are 5 billion gigabytes of new data that need to be examined and integrated into the decisioning process. The inefficient marketplace, the magnitude of the data, the dynamic nature of the data, and the significant processing challenge to extract appropriate insights have resulted in corporations of all sizes simply not realizing the benefit of using these new data sources to transform their decisioning processes. These companies operate only seeing a very small fraction of the data they could see to inform their decisioning. The Venture Development Center solves this problem.

I welcome you to follow this blog to find out from time to time what we at VDC see as the emerging opportunities in “Big Data.”  And I welcome your comments and suggestions so that, together, we can engage in intelligent dialogue about this exciting and rapidly changing discipline.

-Dr. Charles Stryker, President/CEO/Founder