It was great to get together with Big Data enthusiasts last week at the Metro Offices co-working space. If you attended, please send a thank you to Robert Katz (@) for opening it up. The conversation was an open forum discussion among professionals with backgrounds in digital marketing, law, and finance. There was general agreement that companies need to use data to make decisions; however, participants noted basic impediments such as understanding or identifying the underlying importance of a data point or metric, separating correlation from causation, and wading through unknown-unknowns.
What was generally agreed on is there is value hidden within the information being collected and it is necessary to understand how to access and apply that data to help ourselves and clients stay ahead of the competition. At a basic level, spreadsheets and tools such as Google Analytics provide information about what is happening, but it is important to also understand why numbers are changing and if they are changing in an anticipated manner that indicate a stronger company going forward. This latter point touches on measuring the effects of actions taken by a company, primarily through marketing, and the ultimate return on investment of those actions, whether intended or unintended. The final point, exploring the ‘unknown-unknowns’, or ‘what is possible’, is what seemed to capture the greatest attention of many in the room. Never has there been the opportunity to compare and analyze so many data points and it is sometimes overwhelming to do so or even arduous as information is siloed in separate databases – a challenge Anant is helping businesses overcome.
Big Data is a big topic and this group conversation will continue at the monthly breakfasts through the end of the year. While the focus for the next breakfast on September 30 has yet to be set, it will most likely delve into both successful and unsuccessful use cases of big data for data-driven decisions in a business environment. Please do not hesitate to contact us with other topic suggestions for either September or subsequent breakfasts. In the interim, you can sign up for the 30th or join us for a webinar on connecting online business software on September 16. We look forward to seeing you again or meeting and talking with you at one of our upcoming events.