Article Blog - Suresh May 22, 2014 2 minute read

Perfecting Big Data Literacy for Optimal Insight and Value – PART ONE

By Suresh Katta, Founder and CEO, Saama Technologies

While some skeptics cast a wary eye on the concept of Big Data as being mirage and P.R. spin by the technology industry, those of us that have been in the forefront of the data revolution understand that Big Data is real.  In the past two decades, as we adopted more and more ways to automate our lives, we built the foundation for the Big Data era in which we find ourselves.  There is an incredible amount of information available that has been captured and along with this ‘Big Data’ has come the realization that with better management we can increase efficiencies, save money, provide better services, etc.

But to harness the Big Data available today requires an understanding of information at levels we never needed before.

The practice of business intelligence (BI) is not new, but the science and analytics approach to Big Data is.  BI has traditionally focused on structured data within the enterprise, centrally stored, and used to provide a ‘rear view’ of what happened, what worked, what didn’t, and from that we could then make guesses to learn why.

Advanced Analytics Approach

With all the information captured and collected in our ever-increasing digital world, we have created lots of digital haystacks.  The consumption of data and creation of data is exploding with every computer, app, mobile device, database, etc. and more and more is being added daily.  In order to be able to manage and make sense of our multiple data haystacks, we need to be able to converge information stores that include structured, unstructured, social, video, and other sources.  It is this phenomenon that has taken us to the ever-increasing need for science, mathematics and machine learning.

As a result, what next-generation BI, or Big Data, can offer is prescriptive insight that can reveal what will happen next.  It is more crystal ball than rear view.  But to gain the insight requires interpretation, and that’s where the need for literacy comes in.  The full impact of the Big Data revolution (and its full reward) won’t be felt without proficient data literacy at all levels within the organization, not just with a few trained specialists. This is where the skeptics who believe Big Data is a mirage stand.  Big Data will remain a mirage, unless we become increasingly data literate and understand how to maximize guided intuition regardless of ones role in the organization.

This is the first of a two-part article.  Next week we will discuss the value of Big Data literacy and the multiple informational views made only possible with machine learning plus humans.

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