Several weeks ago I attended The Wells Fargo Tech Conference, a gathering of industry leaders and investors who get together to understand the latest trends in technology. The presenters were incredible; John Chambers of Cisco, Safra Catz of Oracle, and lots of 2nd and 3rd generation entrepreneurs. Virtually every presentation hit on the top trends; Mobile, Cloud, Social networking – but more than any trend, data was pervasive throughout. Why? Because the market has finally woken up that data is not a by-product of transaction systems but is now THE asset that companies care about.
Let me give you a few examples. Steve Cakebread, the CFO of Pandora media talked about how Pandora is changing the market for radio by bringing it to the internet. What was interesting about his comments was his focus- the demographics of the listener base, their behaviors, their social networks and why they would be able to pinpoint to the listener level the buying patterns but also spot spending trends amongst the social networks of the listeners- so if your friend listens to Pandora but you don’t, you’re still a target.
Content, in many cases, is still king, but data is quickly becoming the crown jewels. Think about this; 90% of all data created has been created in the past 2 years. For most companies, they haven’t made the transition to treating data as a shared enterprise asset. Those that have understand one important thing- any asset has a value, and in most cases, that value depreciates over time
What’s most valuable is understanding data in context. Do you really understand why someone takes action? How their purchase relates to their network? When they will do it again? As companies experience the value of Big Data, they will quickly learn that even Big Data has it’s limits. What’s required is an agile approach that gives even Big Data a life beyond it’s initial purpose.