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Customer Obsessed by Marc Benioff, Eric Berridge

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9Turning Data into Action

Big data as an information technology (IT) strategy has been around for a decade or longer. Remember when it was data mining? When companies set up data warehouses and data marts? One witty analyst referred to data convenience stores; maybe he should have called it “little data.” Regardless of what you call it, it's no secret that big data presents both an opportunity and a challenge. And there is another even more important secret about data: It's not about the data, big, little, or in between—it's about business outcomes. The rest of this chapter will talk about data in every possible way, but remember, it is always about the business outcome.

The challenge of big data comes not only from its volume—the world is generating exabytes of new data (by 2016, global IP traffic alone will reach nearly 1 billion gigabytes per month, and will double to 2 billion gigabytes per month by 2019)1—but from its velocity, the speed at which it arrives and must be analyzed if it is to deliver any business value. New data is created every second of every day.2 Given the volume and velocity, it's easy to get lost amid the information.

There are already many strategies to shape and master your data, but the most important ones start with defining the goals and policies around business outcomes: acquisition, retention, cost reduction, and expansion, along with all of the rules governing the use of data. Hopefully, you'll notice that very little of this has to do with the ...

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