What does “big data” really mean? If you ask Zubin Dowlaty, he will tell you it’s a metaphor for disruption. “I have never experienced anything like what we are experiencing in the industry right now,” he says. Dowlaty is VP and Head of Innovation & Development at Mu-Sigma Inc. In the past he has worked in analytical roles for UPS and Intercontinental Hotels.
Dowlaty has been doing advanced analytics projects for many years but says the industry has been undergoing an amazing change over the last 18 months. “My mom never knew what I did before. Now she knows,” says Dowlaty. Why? Because big data has been covered in almost every major news outlet.
Dowlaty talks about big data as a disruptor on four levels: larger data sets, new tool sets, different skill sets and, most importantly, changing mindsets.
The disruption is a result of 19 analytics trends, which he described in detail today at the Analytics 2012 conference in Las Vegas. They include:
- Analytical techniques and tools are scaling to handle the wide variety of data formats and large data sets.
- Analytics as a Service and the cloud can remove hassles and enable turn-key operations.
- Open source analytics are maturing into viable options for the enterprise.
- Dashboards will evolve into cockpits to be more actionable and forward looking.
- The importance of aesthetics is improving data visualization.
- Social network data has increased the awareness of graph theory.
- Gamification crowd sources problems and provides incentives for solving problems.
- Real time analytics and event streams mean data is no longer at rest. It is in flight.
- Artificial Intelligence is finding success in unexpected places, like financial trading, ecommerce, and supply chain solutions.
- Quantitative experiments in the enterprise are on the rise.
Overall, Dulawty encouraged attendees not to set limits on what they can do with analytics. "It is time to remove excuses to not being able to crunch this data anymore," he said. "The only limitation now is your mindset."