Big data is on the tip of many people’s tongues today and why shouldn’t it be? We use primarily digital information devices to process most of our communication, so it would seem to be a natural premise that we harvest that data to get a clear snap shot of probable results. Whether you frown on the word because of all the proposed hype or feel it has been in existence now for almost 30 years, the truth is in the action, the average person is becoming more and more aware of this quantum data stream, deemed “big data”. Let the branding of the term continue.
In the science community, space exploration is constantly uncovering new frontiers for us to understand and explore. They are uncovering the possibility of life on other planets or even far off moons. That frontier is always changing and our perspective on how we navigate and see that space is always evolving. Our perspective is becoming more focused and aware of what lies under the surface. Why not view our micro-frontiers as changing, as well? Our own data frontiers are continually piling up and are being harvested (or are not being harvested) at an exponential rate. As we push forward into mining this digital data space it is becoming apparent that this motherlode of data is far greater than we imagined and ever thought possible in gaining access to. The petabytes (1 petabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) of data that are being extruded from these lodes, by both big and small brands, are growing at an ever increasing rate. Are you utilizing this information or do you find that your data is compiling out of control with little being absorbed back into your brand from its own internal data vault?
The brand strategy from digital data is becoming used in political campaigns, purchasing powerhouses, social network services and financial corporations in order to effectively find ‘actionable’ strategies for their sales and marketing programs. I want to focus on the actionable portion of this big data brand perspective. I am using the word ‘actionable’ in this post to be defined as information that is constructed from an action or a sequence of actions. Consider that we have an ocean of numeric analytics at our fingertips but how fast are we able to generate those results in order for it to still be relevant and usable in the nature of our reality and relationships? How much actionable data effectiveness are we applying?
Speed of Results
Time frame in retrieving results always plays adversary to the data query itself and if the distance of time outruns the speed of the data results, the data no longer becomes as relevant. Enter new technology to solve these long sequenced batch queries.
HP Vertica is using a processing solution and providing a platform based system to grab data from internal data pools with agile speed. Large brands like Guess and Intex are using their internal data like never before simply because they can generate continuous data results in an effective time query offering them analytics that can be incorporated into real-time strategies. This process uses column orientation, compression, clustering (segmenting) and continuous load and query of data becoming the engine to your analytics that can now be harvested and leveraged into the next stage of analysis. Actions based on the queries.
If we respond to data as a numeric value only, then we are losing sight of our humanistic and naturalistic relationship in this world. The values of the numeric data should be interpreted into actions. Actions are queried as a numeric value and so the cycle continues. But the truth lies in the question itself. What are we asking and then dive down to find that detailed answer to our question in meaningful terms? The numeric data we can explore is vast and if we lose focus of our very real life question then the result or probable outcome becomes skewed.
In a simple example, let’s take the ordinary number value 3 and the ordinary number value 4. We understand that they both have the mathematical property that says that the product of any two of these numbers do not require them to be in any specific sequential order to have an equal product (3×4=12 or 4×3=12). The value becomes very different when you alter the ordinary number values into action, which is what we actually are measuring in our vast sea of data. In that regard, the action of run (being replaced for the ordinary number value of 3) and the action of jump (being replaced as the ordinary number value of 4) have very different results depending on order. The data for [run][jump] within a specific sequence and space (segment of time) produces a product (result) with a completely different outcome than [jump][run]. If there was a hole at one end of a jump-run sequence this factor would most certainly affect your end results. In this basic analogy the product in an ‘actionable’ result changes and is not equal but varied based on sequence of actions. This is why numeric value needs to be replaced with action value. The human element integrated into analytics and then into strategy is the core to refining numeric data into actionable data. Data that can give a predictable directional strategy that drives and grows business.
Branding Your Data Space
Given ample info of how our audience buys, selects products/services and it’s aesthetic to culture can completely change the perspective of the company and on how it markets to its audience. If you see your audience as a flattened numeric valued layer – then there can be miscommunication and limited growth even though there are recorded results.
If you see them in the light of the muli-dimensional universe they actually live in … well then you not only hit the mark with your communication, you find that they become loyal viral supporters of your brand. Understanding the data footprints they make is much like being a highly tuned archaeologist identifying the footprints left behind after the scene. The only difference is we are advancing in the mining of more and more data as the scene is happening. The immediacy of data, the more insightful and detailed the data, and the more integration we use to alter that data into actions, the more we can successfully actuate a probable result!
So pick your battle, if this really is the big data boom or an evolution of a long historic data trail, either way it is providing more and more value to our intelligent business strategies. Big or small brands shouldn’t wait to mine this gold from their own store houses! In most cases they don’t have the right miners to dig into their vast vaults and excavate it. Or their data processing solutions are not in line with an extraction speed to provide enough results to make it effective in their real-time strategies. The truth lies in the action.