The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and analyzing large data sets—so-called big data—will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus, according to research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office. Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of big data, not just a few data-oriented managers. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future.
via McKinsey & Company.
General Electric Co. is hiring twice as many programmers and engineers as originally planned for its software development hub near San Francisco after sales of new data analysis services exceeded the company’s expectations. Employment will reach 800 workers at the facility, where GE is crafting computer programs that can distill data collected from jet engines, locomotives and wind turbines, according to Bill Ruh, the executive leading the initiative. Sales of the first 10 applications designed at the center have reached $290 million this year, Ruh said. “We’re way ahead of where we thought we’d be in terms of offerings, and we’re very happy with the revenues as well,”
via Information Management.
Big data is an exciting idea, but I find little agreement about what the phrase means in concrete terms, and how to make use of it. Could big data be the next nanotech, a field that was hyped enormously in the last decade but produced disappointing practical value? (I concluded that nanotech is basically the 21st century name for the mature science of chemistry.) Or is big data more like the PC or the smartphone, platform technologies that unlocked huge user value and a stream of valuable innovations?
First, what does big data mean? Here’s my try at a definition. “Big data” is a set of technologies that enable collection and analysis of very large data sets that yields valuable results, commercially or otherwise.