Go Big or Go Home: The Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data

by 1to1 Media

The topic on everyone’s minds is big data — what should your company be doing to jump on board and leverage it to your advantage?

Big data was the subect of heay discussion during Pitney Bowes Software’s Insights 2012 conference this week in New Orleans, writes Mila D’Antonio in a post for The 1to1 Blog. D’Antonio had a chance to sit down with John O’Hara, president of Pitney Bowes Software, to discuss the challenges many companies are grappling with attempting to aggregate and analyze all the data pouring into their enterprises, and the opportunities afforded to marketers who understand how to best leverage big data within their own organizations.


  • Great introduction to Big Data.

    I would add that Big Data enables:
    * New business models
    * New revenue models (for existing products)
    * New product experiences
    * Greater operational cost efficiencies

    Looking fwd to seeing a decade of innovation based on Big Data!

  • We should be careful in that Big Data is a technology, not a trend. Big data seems like one of the new buzzwords. It is a technology that allows analysis of very large sets of data looking for a business problem to solve.
    Surely, Big Data can enable large online apps like Facebook or a company like MasterCard to do an analysis of billions of transactions. But in reality, organizations have a hard time collecting, analyzing and using small data. Big data just makes the problem worse.
    Two examples: Most marketers never even look at web analytics, except for those in media and eCommerce – ask a small business owner or a brand manager at a multi million dolalr company how many unique visitors they got online last month, what is the trend and what are the click paths.
    Second, look at most critical information sources in any large company: customer databases. Everyehwre I have looked, as a result of multiple systems, M&A activity and uncoordinated efforts, customer data lives in multiple (sometimes up to a hundred) different databases. It’s not like business people are lazy or IT staff is incompetent. Data is hard. Integration is hard. Big data is useless when most companies are having trouble extracting basic data out of the business.
    Will be interesting to see how this technology evolves int he next few years and how companies like IBM build business oriented analysis tools on top of it.

    • Gerardo —

      I would say that the term ‘Big Data’ refers to both a technology and a trend.

      Big Data technologies such as Hadoop, InfiniDB or others are indeed new technologies.
      ‘Competing through analytics’ is an emerging discipline. In some companies, such as LinkedIn, Data Science/Analytics are their own function.

      So, to your example, Hadoop alone wouldn’t fix an integration challenge. But, a companywide analytics strategy, supported from the Board level on down, would allocate enough resources to overcome a challenge such as integration.