The Rise and Benefits of Big Data

In The Wall Street Journal’s “Big Data is on the Rise, Bringing Big Questions”, author Ben Rooney explores the business significance of Big Data through his coverage of the Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford event and examination of the varied benefits of Big Data analysis. In particular, Rooney discusses that while many businesses are aware of the concept of Big Data, “only about 6% of companies have got beyond a pilot stage” of a Big Data initiative, “and 18% are still in one”. Dean of Oxford’s Said Business School Peter Tufano theorizes that while these companies are interested in Big Data analysis for the financial benefits, many are still not sure as to how Big Data can best serve their company’s needs.

Though some individual business have not yet determined exactly how Big Data can benefit them, “those companies that are able to use data effectively are more likely to win in the marketplace”. For example, in the field of personal location data, “some $100 billion of value can be created globally for service providers”. Additionally, the power of Big Data is not proven simply in profits; “John Aristotle Phillips, Chief Executive of Aristotle International” said that while “[the] election was not won because of Big Data…the use of data analytics had a material effect on outcomes” of the most recent presidential election.

In spite of these benefits, however, consumer-driven companies are not embracing Big Data as quickly as some would expect. “Andrew Grant, Chairman of Satalia, a U.K. university spinout that applies algorithms to optimize Big Data, suggests” that for many consumer-driven companies, “cultural obstacles are the biggest impediment” to Big Data implementation. Rooney also discusses that some consumers may find the predictive powers of Big Data to be off-putting; “[the] richest examples of Big Data are to understand consumer behavior and optimize your product for it”, and some customers prefer less targeted marketing tactics.