Big Data and analytics: which is the bigger trend?


In my view, few trends are as important today as Big Data. Of course, for centuries talking heads like me could make lofty claims like these. Fortunately, we live in a very data-centric time. I can make statements like these – and I can try to back them up with data.

So, what's the trend surrounding Big Data? Is it really growing in importance as I suspect? Let's go to the data. On Enterprise Irregulars, Phil Wainewright presents some striking findings around Big Data references on Twitter:

  • After staying almost flat from Q1 to Q2 (2012), tweets about Big Data surged 25% in both Q3 and Q4.
  • 72% of tweets included links, showing the conversations were mostly about sharing information resources.
  • The most shared articles of the year were largely explaining, exploring or "myth-busting" the topic.

As I argue in Too Big to Ignore, though, Big Data is a means to an end. Ideally, Big Data produces meaningful analytics - and people actually make better business decisions based upon those analytics. This begs the question: Which is the bigger trend? Big Data or analytics? Again, let's go to the data:

At least according to Google Trends, it's not even close:

One should not look at this as an either-or situation. In fact, Big Data makes for better analytics. Unstructured data can significantly enhance simple KPIs. By definition, structured can only tell part of the story. Customer, employee and partner data can provide a more complete understanding of what's going on - and why. Equipped with that understanding, better, more informed business decisions can result. And, if you play your cards right, you begin to see the Holy Grail: predictive analytics.

Simon Says

Hopefully you didn't need to see the chart above to recognize the importance of Big Data and analytics. However, in the rare event that these topics are new to you and your organization, the time to act is now. They're only going to get bigger.


What say you?

Tags analytics

About Author

Phil Simon

Author, Speaker, and Professor

Phil Simon is a keynote speaker and recognized technology expert. He is the award-winning author of eight management books, most recently Analytics: The Agile Way. His ninth will be Slack For Dummies (April, 2020, Wiley) He consults organizations on matters related to strategy, data, analytics, and technology. His contributions have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, CNN, Wired, The New York Times, and many other sites. He teaches information systems and analytics at Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business.

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