What do Siri, the Oakland A’s, Facebook, and the United Nations have in common? They all are adept at unlocking insights from “big data.” In fact businesses, governmental agencies, and organizations of all types are experiencing breakthroughs thanks to the power of big data strategies.
According to an article in the New York Times, Big Data’s Impact in the World (1), Apple’s Siri keeps getting smarter as more users feed the system with data. The Oakland A’s reportedly mined big data (such as baseball statistics) to find undervalued baseball players to recruit at bargain prices. This strategy was detailed in the 2003 book (and subsequent movie), Moneyball. Facebook is well known for amassing huge volumes of data about its users and then using that data to deliver highly targeted advertising. The United Nations reportedly mines big data to take the pulse of social networks in order to predict job losses, disease outbreaks, and economic sentiment in various regions around the world.
These are but a few examples of how organizations use data mining software for insights, but where do they get that data? In some cases, big data is publicly available. For example, data.gov (2) is the home of the United States Government’s open data. Here you’ll find over 100,000 data sets covering everything from agriculture, climate, education, energy, finance, health, and public safety to weather, jobs and skills, global development, manufacturing, business, law, and more. Twitter with its millions of real-time tweets and hashtags is another public source of big data.
In other cases, big data comes from the organization’s own data sources such as transactional records, logs, project management software, CRM software, content management systems, and sensors. Consider Amazon as an example. It uses big data to recommend different products, books, movies, and services to you based on your history as well as the histories of customers similar to you.
Big data is huge, and it’s readily available. However, making sense of all that information remains a challenge. Fortunately, mashup software solutions such as InetSoft’s Style Intelligence (3) make it possible to mine big data for relevant insights. Mining big data allows companies to discover new opportunities, improve their efficiencies, and reduce costs as a result.
1. New York Times “Big Data’s Impact in the World ,” – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
3. InetSoft, “Data Mining Technology” – http://www.inetsoft.com/business/solutions/data_mining_technology/