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Where to begin? This book covers so much and covers it so well that I find it difficult to decide how to proceed. Mark van Rijmenam's objective is provide the information, insights, and counsel that business leaders need to develop and then implement an appropriate (key word) Big Data strategy for their business. As he observes, "Big Data is changing how organizations operate and are managed. It also changes how society works and how consumers live. The impact of Big Data on society will be big, but it remains to be seen how society will impact Big Data." With regard to Big Data trends that all executives need to understand, he identifies and examines seven:
1. The Mobile Revolution: Each day, millions of new people worldwide become connected via computers and smartphones. "In addition, the rise in tablet sales is enormous. Mobile devices require a different approach when dealing with Big Data."
2. Real-time Big Data's Value to Organizations: "The ability to analyze terabytes of data from various sources is interesting and can provide lots of insights, but analyzing terabytes of data the moment they are created anywhere in the world offers even greater possibilities."
3. "The Internet of Things": This is probably the biggest trend, the most significant trend within Big Data. "When we connect the unconnected, completely new possibilities will arise that were previously never thought of. In such a misconnected world, even the smallest things will have big implications."
4. The Quantified Self: "The quantified-self movement is to consumers what Big Data is to organizations. Not only do organizations want to know what is going on, consumers also want to know what they are doing and how they can improve their behavior."
5. Big Social Data: Big social data focus "focuses on the vast amounts of data created on social networks. There are hundreds of social websites that continue to increase in membership. All those members generate massive amounts of data that can be analyzed by companies to provide additional insights."
6. Access to Public Data: "The availability of public data is a trend that cannot -- must not -- be underestimated. Governments around the world are seeing the advantages of Big Data. They are opening up databases that were funded with public money."
7. Potentialities of Gamification: These "can help organizations generate vast amounts of data in a user-friendly and engaging environment." Later, observes, "The gamification of business is not just a tool for effective marketing campaigns. Gamification will revolutionize the way organizations connect with consumers, and it will create extremely valuable Big Data that can enhance a company's database."
"Normally, trends last only a few years. While Big Data is the megatrend [or paradigm shift], these seven trends form a crucial part of how organizations should address the challenge of Big Data. They will continue to exist in the coming decade and should form n important consideration in creating any Big Data strategy."
And with regard to generic big data uses and benefits that all organizations need, he identifies eight:
1. Truly get to know your customers, all of them and in real time.
2. Co-create, improve, and innovate your products in real time.
3. Determine the nature and extent of risk that your organization faces.
4. Personalize your website and pricing in real time toward individual customers.
5. Improve your service support for customers.
Note: If you want them to become "evangelists," this is the best way to achieve that.
6. Find new markets and new business opportunities by combining your own with public data.
7. Better understand your competitors and, more importantly, stay ahead of them.
8. Organize tour company's operations much more effectively, and save money.
"Of course, these generic uses are just a small indication of the massive possibilities of Big Data, but it shows that Big Data provides endless opportunities to add business value and help you stand out from your competition. Each organization has different needs and will require a specific Big Data approach."
He includes mini-case studies of companies that illustrate Big Data applications from which valuable lessons can be learned. They include, in alpha order, Amazon, Apple, Catalyst IT, John Deere, Disney, Nike, Hertz, Morgan Stanley, TomTom, and Zynga.
This book will be of special interest and benefit to those who are eager to learn how Big Data can help their companies to create or increase demand for what they offer. More specifically, The material in Think Bigger will help them to find new markets and leads: What are people saying and looking for, what are they thinking, who are they, and how can this result in finding new markets?
o Drive repeat sales: Recommendation engines and how knowing you customer results in more personalized sales.
o Reduce prospect research time: Time is important in making a sale. Faster response times can improve your conversion rates.
o Predict future sales: Which areas are important, and, how can you combine data to predict sales?
These are among the dozens of other business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of van Rijmenam's coverage.
o The Seven Vs (Pages 5-12)
o Eight Realities of Big Data You Should Already Know (12-17)
o Four Guidelines Organizations Should Follow When Using On-the-Go Data (30-31)
o The Internet of Things (36-43)
o Gamification (53-56)
o Big Data Tools and Types of Analysis (62-69)
o Big Data Ethics (80-85)
o Key Characteristics of Information-Centric Organizations (96-98)
o Big Data Roadmap (123-127)
o Big Data by Industry: Consumer Goods: (157-161)
o Big Data by Industry: Education (161-165)
o Big Data by Industry: Financial Services (169-174)
o Big Data by Industry: Manufacturing (185-189)
o Big Data by Industry: Retail (207-211)
o Big Data by Industry: The Future of Business Analytics (227-231)
I agree with Mark van Rijmenam that the future of Big Data is unsure, as the Big Data era is unfolding. "It is clear, however, that future changes will transform organizations and societies. Hopefully, this book made clear that Big Data is here to stay, and organizations will have to adapt to the new paradigm....Therefore, start developing your Big Data strategy, as there is no time to waste if your organization also wants to provide products and services in the upcoming Big Data era. Good luck!"
I add my own good wishes to his while presuming to suggest two other points. First, everyone involved in formulating and then executing an appropriate (key word) Big Data strategy must have developed a Big Data mindset, one that can accommodate the eight realities discussed in Chapter 2. Also, leaders in companies that embark on that process must think in terms of resource investments rather than costs and those resources include hours as well as dollars. The worst Big Data mistakes tend to be going cheap and/or underutilization. In this context I am again reminded of Derek Bok's response when president of Harvard and besieged by irate parents after a tuition increase: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."