2012 predictions season seems to be starting early this year, and not surprisingly Big Data is showing up on everybody's lists. The top 10 list from Nucleus Research caught my eye, not because of the obligatory Big Data listing (it showed up as #5), but because of how relevant Big Data is to several other trends that were listed.
As frequent readers of this blog will soon recognize as a common theme here - the real value in Big Data is in the opportunities it creates, far beyond solving its "big mess" management problems. In other words, maximizing the return on data.
Without going into the details of Nucleus' report (free download can be found here) specific areas that seem particularly ripe for Big Data related opportunity include:
- The Productive Enterprise. #1 on their list, and involves using social media and other collaboration technologies to facilitate sharing ideas between customers, partners, employees and their managers. A Big Data opportunity in disguise? Absolutely. We have all had the experience of looking for those elusive needles in the massive haystacks of ideas, suggestions and other content that such technologies enable us to put out there. Combined with mobile devices, employees can readily search for and access whatever content they need whenever they need it, in the context of their organizations' mission and priorities. Big Data leading to greater innovation and focus - the opportunities for any organization who can master this are great indeed.
- Healthcare Investment. Due to recent legislation here in the United States, over $20B of federal funding is available to subsidize the modernization of healthcare legacy applications and converting patient records to electronic form. Big money, and also a Big Data problem, with millions of patients and countless transactions that must be shared across healthcare providers and payers. The potential cost savings are great - accuracy in billing, preventing fraud and abuse, and so forth. But so are the potential improvements in patient care. Imagine if your doctor can readily call up your entire care history, significantly improving the odds of correct diagnoses. Or, if you're a healthcare provider, imagine the value of being able to analyze the costs and effectiveness of different treatments across your provider network - wringing out costs and optimizing your investment dollars in care that measurably improves your patients' health. Big Data leading to better health - Now that's an opportunity!
- Renewed Focus on Customer Experience. At first glance, this touts the value of CRM, but it is yet another Big Data opportunity in disguise. "Ensuring consistent interaction with customers across multiple channels is just the beginning. We expect to see more investment in analytics, activity monitoring, and big data crunching as companies aspire to the perfect combination of targeting, touching, and treating their customers." Big Data leading to businesses better understanding their customers' needs and wants - another great opportunity!
In short, are there any credible "Top 10" lists where Big Data isn't materially relevant? Many great opportunities in our industry lie ahead, which at their core require mastering the ever increasing volume, variety and velocity of data.