The Era of Big Data and Analytics

Big Data and Analytics has been a trending topic in the recent period. With faster computers, cheaper storage and more accessible infrastructures, people can collect data, generate insights from them and make decisions better nowadays. This is vital to most businesses and organizations: an edge in information and intelligence means more competitive advantages.

In fact, there is far more collectable data than we can imagine; based on these data, algorithms are able to identity patterns and connections among them and to make predictions. Some examples:

  • Built a full profile of users, including your location, gender, age, favorite brands, foods, music, and political preference based on the keywords you searched online or the pages you lied on social media;
  • Recommend products based on your previous purchase history, and probably guest your needs before you even realized it;
  • Identify suspicious credit card transactions that is different from your own pattern;
  • Help catch Osama bin Laden;

There are a lot more applications in different industries, and it is creating sustainable value to enterprises. The Big Data industry is estimated as a $40 billion market in 2015 alone.

The Big Data Industry Landscape

A graph from Matt Turck’s blogpost gives us a very clear picture of the industry:

Big Data Landscape 2016

(Source: Matt Turck, Jim Hao, FirstMark Capital)

Though rough and simple, a Big Data and Analytics company may fall into one of the following categories:

Infrastructure: these companies provides the underlying products or services that support your analytics: data collection, storage, transformation and management. Offerings include database, computing and virtual machines, network, management interface and more. It’s also noticeable that an increasing number of these offerings are provided as a service (Saas), where all the hardware and software layers are maintained by the companies while users only need to care about the application and implementation.

Analytics: there are companies that provide analytical capacities based on the data supplied by users. Products from Business Intelligence (BI) companies, for example, present interactive metrics (such as regional sales, real-time transaction volume, top-10 brands) in a dashboard in a human-friendly way.  Social Analytics companies analyze trends and feedbacks from social media. There are also companies specialized in statistical analysis, visualization (presenting data in a friendly way), natural languages processing and more.

Application: these are companies that combine the power of analytics with a specific industry or business function. For example, in Sales and Marketing field, a company can help clients better understand its customers, their feedback and making more effective advertising campaigns. In Finance, there are companies who can interpret the news and social media trends and predict the movement of markets. In Health Care and Science, analytics can be used in discovering new drug and better understanding patients. There are limitless combinations of industries and the utilization of big data capacities.

Data Sources: some companies specialized in gathering and providing information for other parties. For example, there are lots of companies competing in the financial data field to provide high-quality data in an attractive price. Companies specialized in one area like Health and Fitness also gather lots of data like users’ activity log that can be turned into valuable insights. Internet of Things (IoT), another trending area, also generates lot of data from censors and user interactions and rely on the power of analytics to make things work “smartly”.

We believe there are still many opportunities from emerging applications and specializations in the Big Data and Analytics industry. Specifically, we believe the combination of traditional industries with analytical capacities in generating insights, discovery and making predictions will have a bright future in the long-run. Though there are many companies to arbitrarily claim themselves “utilizing big data” or “specialize in analytics”, companies that are truly able to utilize this power can gain a sustainable competitive advantage in information over its competitors, and therefore will be the ones who are able to survive in the age of digitalization, competition and rapid transformation.

Additional Links

Is Big Data Still a Thing? (The 2016 Big Data Landscape) by Mutt Truck

How Companies Learn your Secrets by Charles Duhigg

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