On the “Big” Data buzz: does size really matter after all ? Or maybe the end of Business Intelligence as we know it…and at last, the era of Data Intelligence.

The hype of the moment, Big Data… no, you won’t certainly find anything new on this post, as pretty much about all that is (and is not) possible to say about  Big Data has already been said. :)

As usual with a hype, lots of definitions available. Everything goes but most of them agree on massive volumes of data, click streams, structured & unstructured data, intelligence & knowledge gathering and the hope of new business insights, opportunities, and surely… lots of revenue.

So, now companies & businesses have even another set of extremely powerful tools to explore even more amounts of data. (that was expected right…?)

But is it disruptive? Can you say that by bigger we can say fundamentally new or innovative? Well, IMO, not so much. Now, not that I’m saying that there’s not a huge potential of business opportunities here… its just that there’s really another hidden trend here.

And its not about the size of data, but really how and who can actually use it. :) It will be available to everyone, pervasive… surely not limited to “business” as usual, enabling much more than typical “business”/”work related” decisions, gradually and increasingly crossing the line to personal life and every day to day decisions. Everywhere we’ll be using data to drive and improve decisions at every level.

Business intelligence will be no more than a field of a much larger one that I like to call Data Intelligence. (for a few years I’ve been arguing rather silently :) that the business in business intelligence is actually way to restrictive as the same  data patterns/concepts can be used to much more than just “business”). Data Science is another term already being used (like it too but I would stick to my favorite Data Intelligence).

True, historically Business Intelligence was certainly not affordable to any company, and surely forbidden to the typical end user for personal usage. So maybe Data Intelligence started as Business Intelligence because… really, the business “paid the bills”, no one else could anyway.

But enter the cloud, extremely cheap storage, device explosion, and many others. Soon, like your drop box, music store, or mailbox, everyone will have very cheap access to always available personal data stores (yes, structured & unstructured)… a lot like an extremely agile, flexible, personal edw/datamart. Mashable, updatable, surfaced by powerful visualization&analytic patterns. Anywhere, on any device,  I’ll be able to check my personal alerts, data changes, trends, detect patterns, even use data mining.

Users, specially as buyers, will slowly catch up with companies, also using data intelligence models & patterns to improve every kind of decisions they make. This will be fun! :) We’ll get some data to play too! Actually that can be disruptive for some companies… knowing that customers also do analytics!

For example, take this ebook at amazon, today priced at $24.43.

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Would you buy it?

What if I told you that yesterday that same book was only $6.43?

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And by last Nov. 14, the day I bought it, the price dropped to $0.00, the price I’ve actually “paid” for it. (btw, that’s a good read :) although I can’t endorse the $24.43 price tag…)

Or if I told you that this other book, free since today, will probably stop being free next monday?

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(already bought it :) )

Or that “Firms of Endearment” (great book btw!) is again priced at $16.99 (it was free yesterday like it was last august).

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(having said that, let me also say that  I’m a very regular, loyal & happy amazon customer, its just that I can’t skip the free ones :) )

As I see it, Data (with a bid D) will soon empower everyone, not just companies, not just business. It will be everywhere and for everyone. It will work offline or online,and alert me for the conditions we’re  particularly interested in. We’ll be able to build & tune our own data store, subscribing, mashing up all kinds of data sources (see the new  Data Explorer! now imagine it with attached data storage & a lot of other data intelligence features like data visualization & custom alerts).

Thoughts come to my mind: my data,  my alerts, my dashboards, sharing my data, semantic web, and many others.

Also,  not only data but also dataset detailed history will become more & more useful. (yes, that can be BIG :) )

Finally, as usual, everything is changing once again, being either business intelligence, data intelligence or data science, who cares? fact is, it’s a terrific field to work live in!

What do you think?

 

Kind regards,

 

Rui

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About Rui Quintino
Developer & Software Architect @ DevScope

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