The buzz surrounding the potential for big data to transform every industry from marketing to medicine has become almost deafening.
Many experts agree that the power of business analytics to transform the vast amounts of data streaming into companies is not being over hyped.
For example, an article in Harvard Business Review declares that big data and data analysis could transform the way companies do business, “delivering the kind of performance gains last seen in the 1990s, when organizations redesigned their core processes.”
Companies that increasingly rely on data analysis to drive key decisions, will stand out from their competition, HBR notes.
But some industry observers have begun highlighting the hazards created by big data if not used to its full advantage.
A recent article in the Boston Globe, Big Data: Mind the Gap, notes that we are notorious for making great strides in areas where we can easily measure things and lagging in new discoveries that are more challenging to measure.
“The data that are being generated are rich, detailed, and eminently crunchable,” according to the article. “But it’s not quite correct to think of these data sets as all-encompassing. The advent of big data also has a paradoxical risk: that by sending us down the narrow paths of the data we have available, it may cause us to mistake those paths for the whole world.”
The Globe points out that when paleontologists first began to hunt for dinosaur fossils, they focused their efforts around areas with the most fossils. The dinosaur fossils that were the easiest to find were those of the tyrannosaurus rex, the stegosaurus and the triceratops, which is why we know the most about these dinosaurs today.
Forbes contributor Anthony Kosner also notes these big data dangers, describing consumers’ attitudes toward the Internet as a “super-sized repository of the media they already know.”
While the text, photographs, video and interactive graphics do make up a massive storehouse, what is most significant about the Internet is the relationships between all these things, he adds.
“And it is from the ‘glue’ of these relationships that our collective knowledge emerges,” Kosner writes.
There is a solution to this conundrum, the Globe notes.
“Explore and venture into the unknown, or otherwise stretch our ability to measure everything, not just what’s immediately around.”
- Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on the latest insights and trends in data analysis and big data.
- To hear how organizations that have adopted in-memory computing can analyze larger amounts of data in less time – and much faster – than their competitors, watch our on-demand webcast, “In-Memory Computing: Lifting the Burden of Big Data,” presented by Nathaniel Rowe, Research Analyst, Aberdeen Group and Michael O’Connell, PhD, Sr. Director, Analytics, TIBCO Spotfire.
- Download a copy of the Aberdeen In-Memory Big Data whitepaper here.