According to Forbes, large organizations are in love with big data and big analytics. In fact, back in March, IDC forecast that the big data technology and services market is expected to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015. While it’s been reported that Deloitte estimates the size of the big data market at $1.3-$1.5 billion in 2012. Yet many employees aren’t equipped to harness these insights in their everyday decision making, in part because classic big data relies on at least some business users understanding the location and naming and semantics of the data, not to mention how to structure queries.
Perhaps even worse, many executives and boards are still oriented towards an “inside” data view vs. customer or employee engagement type data that has increasing value as social and mobile networks take off. Of course, the notion of self-service Business Intelligence or “BI for the masses” (data mining for dummies, if you will) is not a new idea in more progressive organizations. And in the consumer world, brands like Amazon, Apple and Nike have already shifted their own big data engines into high gear – not necessarily to streamline their internal decision making – but rather to deliver more personalized offers, recommendations and experiences that drive consumer loyalty and sales.
A new generation of specialty social analytics and business intelligence (BI) providers, like QlikTech, have been some of the first to re-envision BI and provide the tools and platforms to create smarter, more social, special-purpose apps for creating and delivering insights to the right audience on the right device.
What’s the connection? While companies (and computers!) like big data, most people only need small data. Not only in terms of what is ‘good enough’ when it comes to the size of the data set. But also in terms of wanting smart, socially-enabled apps tailored to the job at hand.
Who does this well? For consumer and small-business applications, Google may do this better than anyone. But on the business front, a new generation of specialty social analytics and business intelligence (BI) providers like GoodData, NetBase, QlikTech, and Visible Technologies have been some of the first to re-envision BI and provide the tools and platforms to create smarter, more social, special-purpose apps for creating and delivering insights to the right audience on the right device.
So what are the keys to bringing the power of big data to the masses via this type of small data approach?
- Make it simple. Whether you are an internal development team or software vender, focus on delivering simple, consumer-style, self-service apps and devices vs. complex toolkits. This is what QlikTech has done as they power smart “business discovery” apps for users ranging from school administrators to pharmaceutical reps. And social media analytics vendor Visible Technologies is making it easy to blend operational and even regulatory data with social data via real-time performance dashboards. “There is more demand to deliver data in consumable fashion,” says Visible’s CEO, Richard Pasewark.
- Be smart, but know your audience. Focus on providing context-driven, highly accurate answers and explanations (note I said answers, not data). Or even sharable infographs or highly consumable research results like NetBase’s clever Sentiment Tracker series published via The Wall Street Journal. In talking with Visible’s Pasewark, he highlights the need to deliver big data insights with digestible action items, and also spoke to the importance of keyword analysis and social monitoring for marketing apps. “Marketing has the least amount of technical expertise, yet the most to gain from social insight,” he added.
- Think mobile first. Remote workers and consumers on the go are increasingly hungry for contextual apps and information. Applying the latest Responsive Web Design techniques can help to deliver a great experience across all Web-enabled devices and sharing channels. In fact, in talking with Jeff Boehm, VP of Product Marketing at QlikTech, he envisions a future where apps are designed for the iPad first, then ported to various desktops. “Delivering a complete experience on mobile is paramount,” he notes.
So is your organization tooled up to deliver this next wave of user-centric BI? Have you bought into big data or are you more interested in taking baby (small) steps?