When we continue to look at mega trends in the IT space, it is easy to rattle off disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, 3D printing, and, yes… Big Data Analytics. Companies ranging from small startups to large technology companies have already seen how Big Data has – and will continue to – change the way that we work and play.

Those arguments certainly have merit. Nevertheless, there is another mega trend associated with Big Data that will make a significant dent in the overall IT environment. That mega trend is Big Data Analytics. Big Data Analytics is the secret sauce that makes Big Data so powerful. To put it another way, without Big Data Analytics, everyone from the small startup to a large enterprise could not leverage Big Data to improve their operations, establish new business models and eventually provide more value to customers.

Ultimately, it is critical for businesses of all sizes to understand the difference between analytics and Big Data Analytics, why it is reshaping current business models, and how to leverage this disruptive technology today.

Big Data Analytics: Some Core Principles

The simple idea behind the technology is that it examines large amounts of data to find hidden patterns, correlations, and other insights. While there is no one single technology that encompasses Big Data Analytics, there are several key technologies that do most of the heavy lifting. Those technologies include machine learning, datamanagement, datamining, in-memory analytics, predictive analytics, and text mining. We will go in more detail of those technologies in further articles.

Before the rise of Big Data, companies were still trying to apply “analytics” to the little data that they had. As early as the 1950s, these companies were inputting numbers and data into spreadsheets to discover potential insights or trends. With those insights in hand, the companies would gather relevant stakeholders, develop a plan, and try to capitalize on those trends. Big Data Analytics, however, allows companies to gain more accurate insights in a quicker, more efficient way. Instead of waiting days or weeks for some actionable insights, Big Data Analytics – by leveraging the technologies listed above – can deliver these insights in a manner of minutes or even seconds! This unlocks immense value, as companies can speed up product development, improve their operations, faster time2market and deliver better customer experiences.

Not only that, but Big Data Analytics is reshaping current business models. They help companies reduce operating expenses, thereby allowing those companies to allocate capital in more efficient ways. By obtaining accurate insights on customer preferences and behaviors, companies can also produce and sell products and services that better solve customers’ underlying pain points. Ultimately, Big Data Analytics can cause a company to rethink the way that it operates and the way that it delivers value to its customers today.

Leveraging Big Data Analytics          

Companies of all shapes and sizes can follow several key principles to best leverage Big Data Analytics. These first principles – while not exclusive – will help prepare your company to leverage this mega trend.

First, it is necessary to achieve buy-in from company leaders and executives. Without internal leaders understanding the importance of Big Data Analytics, your company simply won’t be able to see most ( if not all ) of the benefits. Take the time to explain the benefits – including the financial benefits – of Big Data Analytics before aggressively incorporating it into your company.

From there, companies should assign a Big Data Analytics leader. Find an individual or group of people in your company that can take the lead on applying the technologies described above to the statistics that your company receives. If you don’t have this capability in-house, you may want to consider working with a third-party vendor with expertise in this area.

Finally, ensure that you are analyzing both structured and unstructured data from internal and external sources. Whether you need to invest in more technologies, allocate more human capital to this effort, or a mix of both, don’t be shy in analyzing information from all different sources. You never know what you may find.

A True Mega Trend

This disruptive technology may not receive as many headlines as analytics itself, but it is truly a mega trend in the IT environment. Regardless of the size or sector of your company, you should seriously consider investing in this mega trend. At the very least, make sure that you monitor developments in this space. This is a mega trend that is not going away anytime soon.