‘Big Data’ – What’s the big deal?

Big data is the management ‘science’ of turning the heaps of data being captured in unprecedented volumes by gadgetry and software penetrating and weaving themselves into our lives in an increasingly intimate manner into information that big business can use to sell us more stuff using less resources. The data is “big” because it is captured in big messy unstructured blobs — the various “status updates” and other content we publish onto one app or the other, the preferences we make public through the “liking”, “recommending”, and “sharing” activities we perform online, and the intricate relationships that exist between seemingly unrelated data points across multiple technological landscapes inhabited by the average person.

In short, getting value out of “big data” is plain-and-simple intelligence gathering — something skilled humans usually do for a living.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

A story on the subject posted on geek forum SlashDot drew some unsurprisingly cynical views. Said one ‘Elvis77’ in his comment:

I WAS a little unsure if BIg Data was another fad, wank word but now that [business analytics/intelligence systems software vendor] SAS has a VP for Big Data I KNOW it’s a Wank Word

Bottom line for businesses scrambling to profit from the latest management fad is nothing new and was easily summarised by commentor ‘EmperorOfCanada’…

Have you ever met one of the sales people from these companies? They are really really good. They take closing a sale to a whole new level. These salespeople don’t walk in off the street and say, “Hey would you guys like a 50 million dollar data analysis package?” In governments they work at the highest levels. Then the directive to put out a tender that only fits one company suddenly comes out of nowhere and poof a mega project takes off. With companies they work at the board of directors level. So again suddenly a team of “consultants” shows up and determines what is needed is a multi million dollar data analysis system.

Our greatest fears that machines would eventually replace human work are actually unfounded. The greatest threat to human productivity is really in the armies of system administrators, support personnel, and consultants brought in to prop up software of dubious value that gets installed in big corporations that have lost the nerve to do things using internal resources and delegated their thinking to software vendors scrambling to make a buck from the latest buzzword.

2 Replies to “‘Big Data’ – What’s the big deal?”

  1. benign0, are you a software engineer? My company General Dynamics is currently specializing in Big Data. I have my own company which is a subcon of GDIT and CSC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.