Big Data and Analytics: Make the Right Decisions More Often

Vice President of Growth, IBM Analytics, IBM

I’m Harriet Fryman, Director of Market Strategy for Business Analytics at IBM. I recently spent time in Europe meeting with customers and partners, and along the way I stopped in Spain to film IBM’s latest television commercial featuring a subject I’m very passionate about: Big Data & Analytics. It was a true honor to be selected to represent this initiative and be part of the new advertisements (pictures from the shoot are above).

Follow along below as I take you on a big data and analytics journey and share my views on this burgeoning and exciting market. 

Let’s talk big data. The data on big data is… big… no matter how you slice it. Just think, by 2020 35 zettabytes (that's 35 followed by 21 zeroes) of data will be created each year. As perspective, in 2009 the entire contents of the internet amounted to only one-half of a zettabyte. We’ve gathered a few other fun statistics to demonstrate its growing size and popularity.

Big data is also the new natural resource. It’s the convergence of structured data found inside of databases, and unstructured data flowing from new sources like social media, mobile devices, sensors, RFID and smart meters.

Leading organizations are seizing this big data and analytics opportunity. IBM’s 2012 CEO study revealed that a significant number of the CEOs from outperforming organizations believe they are differentiating by their ability to derive value at nearly twice the rate of underperformers, on three key dimensions: access to data, drawing insights from data and translating insight into action.

Speaking of outperformers, here are a few examples:

  • At NYSE Euronext, a global trading and technology provider, data experts analyze billions of trades (or almost two terabytes of data a day) and are able to detect suspicious patterns of trading activity early, thus minimizing potential damage and exposure to risk.
  • Big data and analytics isn’t just a bunch of hot air. Actually, it’s helping harvest air. Vestas, the world’s largest wind energy company, is pinpointing the optimal location for wind turbines to maximize power generation and reduce energy costs. By analyzing weather reports, tidal phases, geospatial and sensor data, and satellite images, they are reducing response time for wind forecasting information by 97 percent – from weeks to hours.
  • Even in the sports world, the use of big data and analytics is helping a rugby team reduce its potential for injuries. The Leicester Tigers in England are keeping at-risk players healthy by proactively altering their training programs, helping the club improve league and cup performance, boost ticket sales, increase TV revenues and enhance player transfer value.

Big data and analytics is a great metaphor for sports and business. Whether on the field, pitch, hardwood or in the boardroom, the game is the same. Understand your weaknesses, leverage your strengths… and be better than the competition. After all, big data is a game changer, and analytics gives you that edge.