Why Big Data Matters for Every Employee and Consumer in 2013

In 2013, Big Data will rise but also be cut to size. Tapping into live and diverse datastreams will continue to grow in importance as every employee and every consumer can experience Big Data in their daily lives with the devices and services of their choice.

Those are a few of our predictions. Experts were right in calling 2012 the year of Big Data, but we’re just getting started. The consumerization of IT means two things: The prohibitive costs to tackle Big Data are gone. Every employee and every consumer can tap into datastreams with devices and services of their choice. Big Data always starts small, one datapoint at a time, but it’s a big deal.”

Here are our top five predictions for Big Data in the coming year:

1. All Big Data starts with Small Data. That’s why Small Data is a Big Deal.

No doubt, Big Data has become an overused term to lump together too many technologies, tools and terabytes that defy easy categorization or simply evoke images of the information deluge. But the new year will make one thing abundantly clear: Every single business has to cope with this new data-driven world in which data is a currency, an asset and a liability.

It all depends on how you tackle it and turn it into something immediately valuable. Instead of falling for analysts and vendors who tout the really big thing, more organizations will start thinking small data in 2013, particularly if they are an SMB.  

Here’s why: Big Data starts with a single consumer, a single sensor, a single transaction or a single click. It all flows from here, and the sooner a company picks up on those tremors, the better their read on the earthquake that may be coming. So the best way to think about Big Data is to think about its sources. Don’t become paralyzed by the size of the entire datasphere and instead focus on three simple questions: What types of data do I have? What new types of data can I access thanks to the Net? And what new questions can I keep asking to improve my business? Asking them is almost free. Tools in the cloud let every small explore data and get answers, fast and affordable.


2. Get ready for BYOS, the superfast service industry pushing Big Data

Some CIOs are still fighting the losing battle against BYOD, short for “bring your own device” even though it’s a fact of corporate life. The new year will bring more momentous change. The consumerization of IT combined with cheap and abundant cloud tools will bring companies a disruptive, new phenomenon: “Bring Your Own Services,” or BYOS.

Companies that want to stay on the cutting edge of Big Data and cloud services will support multiple devices on multiple platforms AND be open-minded to give their best and brightest access to the important data streams. Done the right and secure way, BYOS will help an entire SMB or a small group within a larger company run experiments in agile innovation like never before. Testing ideas with the services of your choice brings creative problem-solving to a roiling boil and it attracts the talent that a data-driven economy needs most: the tirelessly curious with an itch to analyze. Let them eat data in 2013!


3. To Infinity and beyond, all with a credit card

2013 will go down in IT history as the year when Big Data lost its scariness. The availability of cloud tools and services to cut Big Data down to size has had several effects. Most important, it lets everyone play in the datasphere and ask questions without ruining their finances or reputation.

What has been missing so far is the infinite scalability. The new year will remove the artificial barrier between what’s for the experts and what’s for the average consumer. Big Data from now on will work seamlessly and on a sliding scale - from a lonely laptop to an array of Google’s data centers that you can rent. Everyone can start small, run some projects and grow with the task. Companies will go from queries on their servers to queries across the entire Net and back - without even noticing. Their team members and partners will dive into results and interact with dashboards that might tap into one datacenter right under their nose or into dozens half a world away - without even knowing it. The power plants of Big Data that kick in when millions or billions of datasets are in play will stay hidden, while only the results appear on a tablet somewhere on the road.


4. A mobile device will suffice to play the Big Data game

Data-driven decision making will become as ubiquitous as toggling a light switch or tapping into a broadband connection. The availability of Big Data streams and affordable analysis tools allow true collaborative thinking the way it should be. More and more parts of the world become computable, and every company, every employee, every consumer, every student can have his or her way with data. Lifelogging is not only for nerds, it’s a necessity for self-aware enterprises, too. Everything they ever wanted to know is out there, it only needs to be dissected and digested. Thanks to HTML5 growing up, a mobile device will suffice to jack into the Big Data universe. First, it will be mostly to consume and think about data-driven insights, but very soon tablets, smartphones and apps will perform complex queries to drill deeply into live databases and engage powerful tools around the globe.


5. Endlessly personal and finally at eye level -- consumers experience Big Data

Up until now, companies could put every consumer under the microscope, track and dissect them. Mark the new year as time to get even. Thanks to the power of Big Data and cloud analytics, consumers in 2013 will be able to interact with large and live data sets in almost the same way the pros are. They can “mine their own business” on a smartphone or tablet and make decisions to buy or not to buy, just like a manager looking at a fancy dashboard. Big Data will nudge markets to become data-driven conversations.

What’s even more important, we believe, is the rise of personal analytics. Everybody can track their daily lives, their habits and missteps, their body’s early warning signals and their mind’s flashes of genius, then use powerful tools to mine that wealth of data. Remember: You can only manage what you can measure. Thanks to Big Data in the cloud plus mobile, that’s finally true for everybody’s personal lives. It no longer takes expensive hardware, software or IT skills to do meaningful, ad-hoc data sleuthing to better manage that ultimate portfolio allocation game called “A Life Well Lived.”

Happy holidays and see you in 2013!