Big Data: Is there anything hotter?

Big data really is the ultimate buzzword for 2013 and I am shameless to say that big data really does bring out the big geek in me.

It’s just plain sexy isn’t it? All that swanky data flying about the place, waiting to be caught, analysed and converted into knowledge and return.

According to IBM, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This is a mind-blowing statistic that would get any geek excited.

But big data isn’t just about incomprehensible size. It’s about its purpose. Insight and information are two of the key opportunities it offers. It answers questions you may never have had answered prior to it.

It’s sitting there, eager to become the next frontier for innovation and productivity. And it is certainly looking to stir up the marketing and recruitment sectors with a promise to provide the edge these industries are constantly searching for.

Marketing

Big Data platforms provide a way to incorporate and analyse marketing data across many audience touch points including email, site activity, search and of course, social media.  Previously, marketers have found such a large scale of data far too daunting and almost impossible to digest. But today, we are using large volumes of cross-channel data, assembled in real time and it is dramatically improving output of analyitical models.

It’s lowering marketing costs because we are able to analyse these mass amounts of data in a shorter amount of time and this is impacting targeting precision. For example, market leader Amazon is already ahead in the field. The site uses collaborative filtering technology, allowing it to develop automatic recommendations for customers based on their purchase history data.

Although companies have had access to customer information for years, we really are stepping into a new realm of change. It’s exciting stuff – a new wealth of knowledge that is helping the marketing industry become more focused.

Recruitment

And how is big data influencing the world of recruiting? Big data in recruiting is helping us be smarter in how we get and use information. It’s helping us pick out the best intelligence without having to scramble through the irrelevant. It’s eliminated the need to choose a candidate based on simply a resume and a bit of a hunch. Big data is being used to create templates of what the ideal candidate for a role looks like. This can be based on factors like location, social networks, experience and even personality traits. Not to mention the fun you can have with correlating data from applicant tracking systems and HR systems.

Big data is without a doubt a big thing – a big, sensational thing. And although people like me are enthusiastic about the prospective advantages it is going to have in different industry sectors, there is no denying the importance in understanding and managing the challenges involved. There is plenty of information out there to be interrupted, but we must be careful not to let it go to waste, as there is so much that can be transformed into “valuable nuggets of business intelligence”, making it one heck of gem.

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