The Missing Word in Big Data

I keep hearing the phrase Big Data.  Whether it be conferences, blog posts, or due diligence requests from VCs about different startups, it’s probably one of the most used phrases in 2012.  The chart below shows “Big Data” search volume in Google over the past 4 years. ‘Nough said.

The phrase Big Data, in my humble opinion is missing a word:  Applied.

Big Data means two things to me.

#1:  Capturing and structuring the voluminous amount of data that gets exhausted across digital channels.  Includes clouds, servers and infrastructure.

#2:  The application of whatever is in the database to make meaning.  The application of this data to make better decisions, or at least more informed decisions.  This is generally software based.

I’m using Big Data to make roster changes to my fantasy football teams.  I’m using it to optimize billions of impressions that are in month on behalf of clients.  I’m using it to understand my DNA.  More and more people are using it as well in order to make many types of decisions.  The more digital we become as a society, we should be able to make better decisions.

  • falicon

    Amen on the missing word.

    Though, the decisions we make based on Big Data are not nec. ‘better’, they are really just more ‘average’…that’s a problem…and it will get worse and more meaningful.

    • dherman76

       If you treat big data as one set, then yes, average.  if you start to break it down into different kohorts, then it becomes increasingly meaningful to smaller groups.

      • TheDom

        The only issue I have encountered is relying too heavily on Big Data. The caveat is the law of diminishing returns with regards to time and efficiency. As we make more aspects of our decision-making processes measurable we must not forget that intuition in some cases is still a valuable asset.

  • Christopher Regan

    I’ve been preaching with ‘Actionable’ — I’m willing to switch to ‘Applied’ — it is simply more direct. Also, selfishly, I just want to get the message through….tnx.

    • dherman76

       Glad it stuck with you