Where are big data and analytics heading in 2015?

2015-01-30 21:26:51

Big data and analytics in 2015 will be less about collecting everything and anything and more about focusing on the most relevant data for actionable insights. More organisations will also look at how machine generated data can add value to their business, not just data coming from customers or employees, according to analysts.

Gartner analyst, Ian Bertram, said since a couple years ago, big data has just pretty much been a hype in that organisations went out to gather as much data as possible on their customers or employees for analysis.

Now, and in the coming year, it's all about only focusing on what’s relevant to the business outcome that organisations are trying to be achieve, he said.

For example, women’s lingerie brand, Victoria’s Secret, used smart data to help husbands, boyfriends and partners make the right purchase for their loved ones in stores by alerting them whenever their wife or girlfriend would browse or show interest in a particular product, he said.

It didn’t require a lot of data that needed to be collected from the consumer end, as it was just linking the relationship through mobile numbers and using advanced context-aware technologies.

“In the case of Victoria Secret, it’s about increasing their opportunity for people to buy and to link what partners are doing. So just collecting those little relevant bits of information will help that connection,” he said.

“It’s more ‘I’m going to be focused on the business outcome, I’m going to collect the relevant data, and I’m going to do something with that data that gives me insight I didn’t have before’.”

As the Internet of Things and wearable devices take off, there is going to be more machine generated data for organisations to tap into, Bertram said.

More organisations next year will assess the opportunities and value of that data, as well as how they can mash it with the human generated data to get as much insight as they can.


However, Jorn Bettin, an advisor at IBRS, said 2015 might not be the year many organisations start to put projects and initiatives in place to extract and make sense of machine-generated data. But it will happen “over the next few years”, he said.

“The real potential of big data will be realised when massive amounts of machine-generated data become accessible, and are used to solve complex optimisation problems in transportation networks, distributed power generation and supply, healthcare, recycling of non-renewable resources, industrial automation, and agriculture.

“The benefits of big data will become tangible in the form of disruptive innovation and a new wave of automation in all sectors of the economy, powered by machine-generated data.”

Forrester analyst, Tim Sheedy, pointed out the potential increase in attacks or privacy breaches in 2015 that coincide with the uptake in devices generating data.

“I believe we will see an accelerated rate of organisations having security issues or challenges, whether they are hacks, or privacy issues, over the next 12 months,” Sheedy said.

“How do we secure our new world of mobile apps and big data, when we don’t have control over them?

"Do we encrypt at the core, for example, or do we encrypt everything? Do we trust no one? Is that our new model for security – you hand out trust as it’s earned, as opposed to assumed trust based on groups and that sort of thing. That might be a new model that we start to see adopted.”

When it comes to the hype around big data, it may not easily die down in 2015, according to Guy Cranswick, advisor at IBRS.

“2015 may be disappointing for big data and analytics in that it has been pushed and discussed and hyped but it’s value is marginal and unless that is measured at the outset, it’s vapour,” he said.

“It also takes time to know where the differences can be discovered. That may be like many tech cycles where the first phase does not yield much and then later it can be put to good results once the real purpose is found.”

Bertram said big data and analytics will drop to the “trough of disillusionment” in the next 12 months, and then start turn into something that has proven value to organisations.

He said in 2015, many organisations will probably only see a small return on investment from their big data and analytics initiatives, but means the trend will start to turn into something more meaningful than a hype.

“The value component, we are going to start to see more and more of that particularly next year,” he said.

Bettin is sceptical of big data and analytics next year as he said many organisations’ attempts to mine big data for marketing and sales will “fall significantly short of expectations”.

Alistair Leathwood, executive director at TNS Australia, also said many organisations have still not properly grasped personalised marketing or made it compelling enough for the consumer to take action and make a purchase.