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Now that data's going really big, what's next? | Forbes

By Rajeshekara V. Maiya, Infosys.

Each year, we add two billion hexabytes (that’s two billion billion bytes) of data just in social conversation. American companies, across 15 sectors, with more than 1,000 employees each store on an average more data than the U.S. Library of Congress.

New Commerce

Move over, Information Age, the era of big data is here. Of terabytes of data, gathered online, offline, from social media and formal interactions, often in real-time.

What is the world doing with this mountain of data?

Some businesses (no surprise it’s mostly retailers and telcos) have spotted their chance to turn big data assets into competitive advantage.  Online retailers are particularly smart at this, and have given many established brick and mortar competitors a hard time with their ability to analyze consumer sentiment, take suitable action, and elicit positive recommendations from their enormous online audience. Other companies have leveraged big data in sales strategy to improve selling, pinpoint customer motivation, and understand brand preferences.

But what are banks – the most meticulous gatherers of information – doing with their big data? Agreed that most large institutions have by now integrated customer transaction data across channels, but is that enough? What about the enormous volumes of information, which rest in departmental silos and are hence never available for analysis outside of their ownership? And how long can banks afford to ignore the minefields of insight from social media?

Clearly, there are probably lots more valuable nuggets in the world’s data mines.

I believe that banks, which have collected more data than most other industries, must drive home their advantage with a well thought out big data strategy. For that to happen, they must awaken to the limitless possibilities of big data. Next, they must inventory all their information assets – both internal and external – to identify undiscovered treasures and critical data/analytical resource gaps. Finally, they must ensure that their big data strategy is not out there on its own, but is actually aligned with the overall strategy for the business. Senior leadership has to take responsibility for this.


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