Chapter 13Big Data's Big Future

The software, the tools, and the storage to make big data a component of your business are here. Now, the trick is to find the right people, the right resources, and the right opportunities to make the most of them in your company.

Most businesspeople agree that if the Era of Big Data isn't here yet, it's coming. And when used properly it can truly help a business succeed. According to “Big Data Insights and Opportunities,” a report from IT industry association CompTia, more than three out of every four executives surveyed said that if they could harness big data, their companies would be stronger.

The rub is that almost the same percentage of executives queried in the same survey acknowledged that “Converting volumes of data into actionable intelligence has been a challenge.”

We now have the technology, the marketing stack, and all the tools to analyze data. But making the best use of it, finding the signal in the noise, and discovering which pieces of data are most significant to your business—those are difficult tasks. They require a team made up of both creative and mathematically oriented individuals to determine what the data means and then to use that information to persuade others to buy your products or services.

Florian Zettelmeyer, professor of marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, said an often-overlooked part of building a big data machine is the people who will operate it. A dashboard means little if ...

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