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5 reasons I love big data and analytics

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Founder, Data-Mania, LLC

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It's almost Valentine’s Day everyone! While I’m sure you’ll be off doing something terribly exciting and romantic to celebrate the occasion, for a data nerd like me, I can’t think of anything more captivating than writing about my big love for big data and analytics. As my valentine to you, here are the top five reasons that I love big data and analytics:

1. Someone turned the lights on

In the absence of analytics, people mostly operated in the dark. Old fashioned decision making processes typically involved a lot of gut feel intuition and trial and error exploration. Not so anymore. With big data and analytics, you can monitor and predict outcomes for almost anything you might imagine. With empirical evidence in the form of big data and analytics, evidence based reasoning and logic is available to support better, data informed decision making. It’s like we were working in the dark, and now someone has turned the lights on.

With big data and analytics, you can monitor and predict outcomes for almost anything you can imagine.

2. Everything becomes more efficient

2015 is the year of “the Internet of Things”. Have you heard of it? For those of you who haven’t, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that’s used to describe a connected system of mechanical devices, each of which is automated to capture, record and convey (big) data that describes equipment operations in the physical world. While IoT offers automated decision making based on real-time data, it is also a means by which engineers and systems design experts can see and understand the interconnectedness of device operations. As you can imagine, this is incredibly helpful when working to achieve maximum resource efficiency in mechanical system operations and maintenance.

3. It gives us the power to engineer outcomes

Big data analytics is like a flashlight that you can shine on any system, procedure or operation that generates data. You want to grow your online visibility? Try using social analytics to measure, track and optimize your social media activity. Want to increase conversions for your online business? Try using web and in-page analytics to track, monitor and optimize what users are doing after they arrive at your website. Looking to increase ecommerce sales? Deploy a data-driven product recommendation system. With strong skills in data science, big data and analytics, you can achieve almost any outcome you desire.

4. It’s being used to save and improve lives

Non-profit organizations like DataKind, Standby Task Force, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and Elva are using big data and analytics to save and improve lives. For example:

  • Elva’s long-standing community safety network project in the country Georgia. This project involves the use of mapping, analytics, predictive modeling and two-way mobile platform communications to save and protect lives from dangers related to security incidents regularly occurring in Georgia’s Shida Kartli region.
     
  • QCRI’s Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response (AIDR) program. Patrick Meier and the QCRI have been working hard to build a Twitter Dashboard for disaster response. This dashboard uses machine learning and micro-tasking to make sense of big (crisis) data that is generated on the Twitter social network during a disaster event. The insights generated by the AIDR program are used to provide humanitarian response decision-makers the real-time information they need in order to make improved decisions with respect to emergency aid resource distributions.

5. Big data and analytics have delivered radical and revolutionary changes in my own life

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Lastly, I love big data and analytics because they are so helpful to me in managing and operating my own online business, Data-Mania. Starting with just a bit of effort and a lot of data, I’ve been able to build a successful online business that supports me, my staff and their family members. Because of the success that data science and analytics has brought to my business, I’m able to work for myself, on my own terms, according to my own hours, from anywhere on the planet. What is there not to love about that?

Learn more about how data science is changing everything in my newest book "Data Science for Dummies," hitting the shelves on March 9, 2015, available for preorder today.