Last month I visited the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany. Until this visit, I had not fully considered the impact the invention of the printing press had on the dissemination of knowledge and in enabling democracy. Prior to Gutenberg’s invention, the transfer of recorded information was reliant on scribes copying information by hand from one book to the next. After the printing press, multiple copies of a document could be created, increasing the dispersion of knowledge and lowering its acquisition cost. More information, lower cost.
There have been few transformations in our history that have had this broad of an impact on society or on business. “Big Data” has the potential to be another of these monumental shifts in how we operate.
We are in the midst of two significant trends, the exponential growth of information and the rapidly contracting cost of processing information, driven by the increases in computing power and the dropping cost of storage. More information, lower cost.
Consider the following growth in electronic information:
2012’s mobile data traffic was more than 11 times the size of the entire Internet in 2000. www.cisco.com//white_paper_c11-520862.html
With the growth of both input devices and sensors, the amount of information is rapidly exploding. Much like the printing press accelerated the storage of thought in multiple locations, the shift in data from paper records to digitally accessible is transformational. Information that was not searchable or source able is now easily accessible.
This information becomes truly valuable when it can be processed cost effectively. Data analysis techniques that only 10 years ago were affordable by the CIA or the largest firms are now available affordably on-line.
InBig Data: A revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think By Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, the authors argue that our traditional thinking based upon causality will transform to a reliance on correlation in determining likely outcomes. This insight, they argue and the data supports, is going to transform how analysis, discovery and business are done.
With this transformation underway, here are 3 considerations for your business:
By focusing on the ‘so what’, you can move your organization to a place of competitive advantage and not be distracted by the overwhelming volume of incoming data. Information thought leadership needs to move from the CFO to the CEO and CMO - How will you challenge your management team to improve your processes and results?