The Knowledge Exchange / Business Analytics / Don’t fear big data, says author Thornton May. Embrace it.

Don’t fear big data, says author Thornton May. Embrace it.

“It’s not a bug. It’s a feature,’’ says May, who thinks the 61 percent of companies that say they don’t really know what to do with all their data are in trouble if they don’t figure it out quickly.

Data need not be overwhelming, if managed using high-performance analytics – an option now readily available to even small companies via cloud computing. But getting to the point of using it is critical to not only understand what happened in the past, but to keep up with what is happening now and – ideally – predict what will happen in the future.

As May discusses in this series of video interviews, the increase in data is not being driven by traditional structured data. Rather, 85 percent of available data is unstructured. Buried in that volume of email, repair reports, tweets and social network comments are the key indicators that help a company understand what is happening today and what might happen tomorrow.

Once an enterprise embraces big data, it becomes something beyond just a report generated by an analyst – it becomes information that is used daily from the sales clerk to the CEO. “This (data analysis) is everyone’s job.’’

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