The Future of Big Data

The Future of Big Data & Data Strategy

For any strategy to succeed it needs to look towards the future and data strategy is no different.  What’s ahead for big data will result from a few key trends:

  • Increased availability of data
  • The combination of data with other technologies
  • An increasingly data-savvy customer base
  • Data driven competition & business strategy

Here’s what we at V2 see coming in the near, mid and long term.

What We Know Is Coming (2 to 3 years out):

Dataset Sizes & Computing Power Will Continue to Rise

One thing for sure is datasets will continue to get bigger and move towards exascale.  In English that’s incomprehensible data sizes that the computing power and software are now being architected to accommodate.  Preparing for big data now means laying the framework for a smooth transition from big data at the current scale to big data at exascale.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things will make a big impact on data gathering and data sizes.  A lot of the push behind exascale is in preparation for the IoT.  Greater depth and breadth of consumer and employee data will be available.  Wearables and home/office automation are the leading edge of the IoT.  In the next 2 to 3 years enterprises will have access to real time data they can only dream of right now.

Personal Use of Big Data

This is the biggest of the big data disruptions.  As the IoT gains traction in the next 5 years, it’ll lead to a rise of personalized use of big data and analytics.  People will be able to engineer their own performance using big data to achieve their goals.  The early adopters are already doing this with:

  • Fitness & Diet
  • Personal Finance
  • Career Path
  • Education

As more personal decisions become data driven, it’ll change a lot about how businesses and customers interact.  The effectiveness of traditional brand and marketing techniques will diminish as customers begin to make more rational, data driven buying decisions.  Businesses without an analytics driven digital strategy will find it difficult to compete.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality will be the visual layer that enables individual consumer and employee data driven decision making.  It’s the game changer that brings real time analytics into the mainstream.

Privacy & Data as a Commodity

As the media covers data breaches and discusses the ethics of how businesses use personal information, consumers are getting smarter about who they allow to use their data.  In 2 to 3 years a data breach like Target’s will be looked at by customers as a breach of contract.  As people generate more data and companies demand more it will become a commodity.  People will expect something of value in return for access to their stream and will terminate access if they believe their privacy is in jeopardy.  Data compliance will become even more important than it is now.  As data access becomes business critical, anything that cuts off access will be a significant threat.  Security and transparency are critical success factors of big data program management.

Data Driven Business Models

As companies become more sophisticated about their use of data, business strategy will be increasingly data driven.  That’s already started in the majority of the Fortune 100.  Looking 2 to 3 years down the road that trend will lead to data driven business models.  In Rita Gunther McGrath’s book “The End of Competitive Advantage” she writes about the growing trend of businesses that compete in arenas or collections of markets with a similar high level focus.  Data driven business models are the rise of the arena sized company.  Competition for the highest margin and volume business models will become a focus for these arena sized businesses with data guiding their market entry decisions.

What We Are Fairly Sure Is Coming (3 to 5 years out):

Computer Learning Merges With Big Data

What happens when analytic sets become too complex for people to visualize in any meaningful way?  We turn to software for insights.  Visualization is challenging now.  Just think about it in 5 years.  Systems will increasingly become self-reliant for real time, complex decision making.  Customers will be accustomed to devices informing their everyday decisions.  The result is allowing software to handle some ground level decision making for us and for our enterprises.

A Higher Expectation of Service

81% of the Fortune 100 have adopted a big data and analytics solution.  49% of all big businesses plan on adopting a solution in 2014.  As analytics use matures and becomes widespread, the services and insights they provide will be expected by customers.  Businesses that haven’t been building their analytics capabilities will find themselves unable to compete for customers.

Modular Business Transient Competitive Advantages

As data reveals opportunities for revenue many of them will be short term or outside a business’s capabilities.  At the same time competition for new revenue streams will become more intense.  The result will be businesses looking for ways to capitalize on these transient advantages.  Enter modular business.  The concept revolves around self-assembling business units.  Much of the labor and knowledge will be outsourced with brand, leadership and distribution provided by the business.  Data and analytics will provide insights on what to produce and for how long.  As the opportunity runs its course, so does the business unit.  Internal resources are allocated to the next transient advantage and the outsourced modules disband with minimal draw down costs.

The Full Potential (5 to 10 years out):

The Mind Unleashed – Hyper-Productivity

Many sci-fi writers pen books about a time where computers surpass people in intelligence and decision making.  In about 5 to 10 years that concept will be firmly put to rest.  Most cognitive researchers understand the pure decision making engine that is our mind.  What limits us is the number of trivial decisions we have to make each day.  Put a mind to work on the truly complex problems we could spend our days computing and enable it with real time predictive modeling; the potential for productivity is great.

Real Time, Predictive Everything

Most people think, at most, a few moves ahead.  The true strategic visionaries look only a bit farther down field.  What decisions would you advise your younger self to make?  With Real Time Predictive Modeling that power will be available when making all our decisions.  As predictive modeling becomes mainstream, our ability to see all potential options and understand the long term results of each option will enable a high level of strategic decision making.  Imagine the potential of every employee being able to think like a CEO.

Real Time, Personalized Everything

A common theme of the advancement of big data is its combination with other technologies to enhance its impact.  As 3D printing, exascale and the IoT hit their stride in 5 years or so the ability to personalize in real time becomes reality.  Branding and marketing move away from the generic, blast communications and to personalized messages delivered at the optimal moment to influence buying behaviors.  Products will give customers the ability to personalize what they buy without waiting.  As customers become increasingly self-expressive they will want to differentiate themselves by personalizing what and how they buy.  They will expect their brand interactions to be personalized.  Companies that fail to deliver personalization to their customers will find it difficult to compete.

Key Take Aways

Big data, analytics, software tools and strategy have reached a high level of maturity.  They’re ready for businesses of all sizes.  Their insights are bringing significant competitive advantages to early adopters.

The infrastructure and framework being put in place today must support the needs of tomorrow.  A unified data strategy helps keep business goals in focus while planning for the future.

Businesses falling behind the curve will find it difficult to compete in the near term and be unable to compete in the next 3 to 5 years.  Access to data and the skills to transform unstructured data into actionable insights are both business critical.

Customers are becoming more data savvy.  Data security and transparency in data collection policies are important parts of a business’s data strategy.  It will be imperative for businesses to keep up with customer expectations of service based on real time analytics.  As customers incorporate data and analytics into their daily lives, they will expect more personalized brand and product experiences.

Arena sized businesses will increase the competitive pressure for new revenue streams using advanced analytics to guide their entry into new markets.  Data driven, modular business models will allow companies to quickly capitalize on transient competitive advantages.  It will drive revenue growth for those businesses with the capability set to turn unstructured data into predictive models of the market.

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