People and tools still pose challenges to big data insight
Enterprises are forging ahead with big data projects in hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of the business landscape to improve all decision-making. These initiatives come with challenges, however, and require support from the most advanced business intelligence (BI) tools, dba services and third-party database experts.
New research from Lavastorm revealed that more enterprises are looking to predictive analytics and data discovery to better manage critical business decisions, which will help fuel the global BI market this year. Lavastorm's survey found that nearly 60 percent of businesses plan to increase analytic investments this year across a range of tools, indicating that current technologies may not be adequate in dealing with complex analytics. According to respondents, the main challenges to analytics are gleaning insights from data (25 percent), accessibility of data (22 percent) and the ability to integrate and manipulate data (19 percent). More than half of respondents indicated that investing in a capable staff is the best way to overcome these challenges, while another half said they plan to invest in more tools.
The survey also found that the most likely development to affect the analytic community in 2013 is the use of new unstructured data sources, such as social media, and the shortage of analytic professionals.
Personalized strategies from big data
According to Harvard Business Review contributor Jim Fruchterman, there are more benefits to big data than profit. He cited the social enterprise Bookshare as an example of a company that was able to mine big data for a significant impact. Last year, Fruchterman reported that Bookshare processed requests for more than 1.3 million downloads of e-Books from its online library. While the company had already been collecting data such as which are the most popular downloads, it was difficult to determine how effective the delivery model was. The company recently launched a new feature, however, that enables students to read books within the web browser with no additional software needed. Bookshare can begin collecting and analyzing all information about how users are interacting with the books to learn about how texts are used, and which tactics are most successful in helping students with a particular objective.
Fruchterman explained that as online retail has used big data to figure out why shoppers abandon shopping carts without purchasing, Bookshare plans to figure out why students give up certain learning initiatives. His long-term goal is for complete personalization of content tailored to how each individual learns best.
No matter the industry or sector, companies have much insight to gain from big data projects.
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