The feverish clamour in the press following the announcement that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram would be merging their messaging platforms is the perfect example of how widely misunderstood the concept of ‘Big Data’ actually is. There seems to be an obsession with the mechanics of how data is collected, without considering the way in which it may potentially be used.
Data by itself is just that – data. Of itself, it has no meaning, nor any inherent value. When that concept is first considered, the response is universal – the statement is simply wrong, counter-intuitive and borderline heresy! However, before leaping upon such a bandwagon with your pitchfork, consider again the context of the statement. The truth is, data and insights alone don’t make businesses better. They can no more improve productivity than they can fix a leaking roof. It sounds so obvious, but before you begin to mine the data you have, there must be a clear understanding of what you’re looking to achieve. Yet many businesses put the cart before the horse and base their strategy on what they find, rather than using their strategy to set the parameters of collection, explore the data and make it purposeful.
Data by itself is just that – data