Through its Engine Health Monitoring Unit, Rolls Royce can track the state of the thousands of components it has in operation no matter where they are in the world. The company builds sensors into its aircraft, helicopter, and ship engines with the goal of gathering data from various parts and systems within the engines themselves. The company’s engines power the aircrafts of over 500 airlines and more than 150 armed forces.
Apple’s developers put their creative thinking skills to use in a new health app, called ResearchKit. According to the Advanced Performance institute, ResearchKit allows researchers to “create studies through which they collect data and input from users phones to compile data for health studies.” The tool is able to track many health-related data points, including a user’s average daily step count, a user’s wellness after chemo, or the progression of a disease.
Given the near-countless examples of ways in which data-driven insights are helping renowned businesses (and humanity as a whole), it almost goes without saying that big data and analytics give a business a multipurpose toolbox. They are recasting everything from pricing strategies, customer insights and product innovation to supply chain management. And, like flocks of migrant birds, they do it without paying much attention to national borders.
But something is preventing companies from seeing the full value of big data and analytics and, therefore, from adopting the technology that will make these insights possible. In fact, according to a report by Ernst and Young, only one third of businesses are using them for strategic decisions.
Could this gigantic murmuring of starlings become a new language companies can use to know themselves, their audiences and their companies better, regardless of geographic location? Yes. But first, they need to embrace these tools, and better understand their value. Otherwise, the world will turn without them.
Carme Artigas is the founder and CEO of Synergic Partners, a Telefónica company specializing in big data, data science, and data engineering, and one of O’Reilly‘s top “Women in Data.”
Big data technologies are mature technologies from both a technological and market point of view. Today, most companies are familiar with the concept of big data, recognize the value it has, and [know] how it may be an important factor for business success. However, it is true that the adoption of these technologies is slow, since the transformation to big data is not only a technological transformation, but also requires a cultural transformation of the company. It involves a change in the traditional working methods, putting data at the center of all decisions, becoming Data Driven and moving from reactive to predictive companies.
Spencer Stuart’s survey of US-based marketing executives supports Artiga’s perception about culture transformation. As the graphic above shows, among the more significant obstacles to big data adoption are the lack of investment in technology and the ability of senior team members to leverage big data tools for decision making.
So, how can companies enact that transformation?
“The key for companies to adopt big data is…not in the IT department,” Artigas said, “but in the areas of business [leaders], and for them it is crucial to learn how to identify use cases that are built on real business problems. I believe that more than ever, companies are aware of the need to accelerate their transformation to big data in the next five years if they don’t want to find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.”
But why, exactly? What benefits may convince those executives in the areas of business to invest time and effort in catching up with the technology? Let’s take the hype out of big data and find out.