News Roundup: In-The-Know Execs, Mechanics, Physicians Want Better Data Analysis
Another week, another slew of new articles about “big data” – here are just a couple that point to the challenge and the potential.
Wall Street Journal: “Beware ‘Big Data’ Hype, Reports Warn”
Forrester has two reports out about big data and how different groups perceive it. On one side, about a third of the marketing and business development executives Forrester surveyed are confused by the term “big data.” On the other side, executives who manage technology report that familiarity of big data is high, as is activity. To me, this apparent contradiction is not surprising given the big buzz around big data. Everyone has heard of it, has likely heard of related technologies, and even heard of big data successes. But figuring out how to apply it to your business is harder. This is where the confusion, and real work around big data is today.
CIO: “Data analytics slashing costs for transport firm”
Along those lines, CIO magazine shared a great example of how data visualization helped one company cut costs in an industry notorious for narrow margins. With the means to analyze data around wages, fleets, freight and more, this company’s executives, human resources team, mechanics and other employees are making business decisions that lead to concrete ROI.
Washington Post: “When Doctors Need Advice, It Might Not Come From A Fellow Human”
The Washington Post presents another interesting use case around harnessing big data – both structured and unstructured – in the medical field. This article shows how physicians can benefit from analysis of structured data, but it also points out the holes in medical advice without similar analysis of unstructured sources: “So far, computers have gotten really good at parsing so-called structured data…In health care, this data is often stored as billing codes or lab test values. But this data doesn’t capture patients’ full-range of symptoms or even their treatments. Images, radiology reports and the notes doctors write about each patient can be more useful.“
Analyzing big data – structured and unstructured – clearly has the potential to yield huge benefits – if organizations can figure out how to apply this often over-hyped, confusing field to their specific challenges.
Want to learn more about visualization and other trends in data analysis? Read Steve Kearns’ blog series on the topic.