Big Data—it's a term searched more than 673,000 times a month globally according to Google. SAS, SAP, IBM, McKinsey and my old firm, PwC show up at the top of paid and unpaid search results for Big Data.
But I never liked the term Big Data. Big piles of data turning into big mountains of data have no intrinsic value in and of themselves. And "Big" is only half of the story.
What's really interesting is that there is NEW data in the mountains of data that are building everywhere. Data that is now spatially and temporally relevant. This is the first time business has had data that is relevant to space and time—the last mile of connectivity, if you will, has been breached.
Converting this big and NEW data into big and NEW information, and then into big and NEW knowledge is the new conversation that we should be having. The future is about the NEW knowledge frontier that we are embarking upon—one where space and time driven relevancy will deliver real time intimacy and insights that were never before possible.
GE Loves Big and NEW Knowledge
I literally just had a service call from a GE technician at my house to fix a routine problem with an ice maker and a squeaky clothes dryer. Dude shows up, and he's wired to the nines. My entire field service experience was actually pretty good. From booking the appointment on-line, him being on time, getting the problem diagnosed and solved and then paying him, everything happened very efficiently and effectively.
Throughout the service call he was connected through his "Tough Book" like PC (nice old school antenna) and he immediately provided me with a detailed estimate. I was peeking over his shoulder and saw that he had a detailed knowledge base he was referencing to identify my specific model and to identify the parts he needed.
He spent more time huddled over his PC, than he actually did fixing the problem.
Which reminds me of the old service tech joke:
A technician hands his client an invoice for $100 after having fixed his washing machine, which only took 5 minutes, and only required one screw.
The customer is shocked, and says "$100!!! To fix that? You were only here for 5 minutes and only used one screw."
The technician doesn't say a word, takes the invoice and writes his client a new one, still for $100 and hands it back to his customer.
The new invoice says:
$1 - Replacement screw.
$99 - Knowing where to put it.
GE gets this, it's why they are spending over $1B on what they call the industrial web which I wrote about recently.
The tab for my service call? Here it is. GE's obviously figured out how to capture much of this value for themselves, and to do it efficiently. The technician was in my home for about an hour, and once he closed my call out, his dispatch knew he was available for another call, and where he was at. Improving utilization drives huge profits in field service.
Value Comes From Big and NEW Knowledge
Knowledge—that's where the value is at, it always has been. Big and new data is creating new information that can yield new knowledge. Today's social technology is providing us with the means to gather this new data, as well as the means to make sense out of it, deploy it in new ways and to create new knowledge frontiers that drive competitive advantages.
Competition is now being driven by information supply, and how companies turn this information into useful knowledge will determine their future.
When companies are connected with consumers, employees, suppliers and shareholders in a real time and location specific manner the challenge becomes one of learning from and adapting to this new level of intimacy? How can your value proposition be enhanced with these new insights, and how can you capture some of this value for yourself? What are you learning about customer behavior, network relationships, influence and dynamics, supplier synchronization, shareholder sentiment?
Your markets are talking to you in a new language with today's social technology, how does your business evolve to understand and reflect the new knowledge that can be created from these tools? The nature of these interactions and this new level of engagement makes the experience of dealing with any brand through these tools a paramount part of any competitive business model.
The future of business is not about the big data, it's about what you learn from it that counts.