Nothing irritates me more than technology that goes unused. Shiny things, cool bells and whistles, and technology features don’t excite me unless I see people using the technology to transform their business and gaining true return on their investment.
I often ask customers, “What is more important to you, get the cheapest deal or realizing the benefits the technology can offer?” Do you choose something because it is free or something that delivers a solution to your needs? Often I’ve seen people choose cost over benefit, to deeply regret it later; spending valuable time not realizing the productivity benefits.
Just when we feel we are drowning in information, along comes Big Data to save the day. Big Data refers to a dataset so large it is beyond the capability of a typical database to manage and make use of the information. But a set of advances in hardware and software now allows us to rapidly capture, organize, and make sense of vast oceans of data, enabling us to apply the results to make better business decisions.
Big Data can give us a strategic advantage. For example, investors could see global trends in trading across sectors in near-real time; they could respond much earlier to a downturn in prices in a given sector, avoiding the steep losses incurred by taking later action.
Big Data can also create a richer experience for customers. Bloomberg.com gathers more than 100 data points from every page an individual reader views, processing the data with 15 algorithms to personalize recommendations. Algorithms that understand natural language and rich media and can reason make Big Data technology even more useful in decision making. Novel visualization paradigms, 3D, and gesture interfaces make Big Data understandable and accessible to everyone.
The day has finally come. I am writing about baby carrots. In a business context. My mom will never believe it.
But it’s really a great story that continues to unfold thanks to the brilliant business transformation that happened in the carrot farms of central California in the 1990s. Cisco’s Inder Sidhu summarizes the business challenge facing Mike Yurosek, then a carrot farmer in Bakersfield (read Inder’s blog on Forbes.com here):
“…Yurosek thought the traditional way of farming carrots was wrong. What good is producing so many carrots if the majority aren’t relevant to the grocers who sell them or the consumers who buy them?, he wondered. Frustrated, Yurosek–who prided himself on a tendency to “think outside the carrot patch”–decided one day in 1986 to try something new.”