From the editor: Big Data: friend or foe?

Colin Grimshaw

The term 'Big Data' is the buzzword du jour, bandied around, often by people who don't really know what it represents. The hyperbole of the Digital 2.0 Age, it has come to embody a kind of mystical belief in mathematics and algorithms that guarantees the most efficient answer to every question; pretty much an entirely automated process, which bypasses the potential for subjective, human bias. Scary for some, intoxicating for others.

While a few companies are employing smart data to great effect, uncovering the minutiae on how individual customers behave and respond, many are drowning in a deep ocean of data, unable to find the pearls among the oysters. They may have hundreds of datasets coming out of myriad operating divisions and departments spread across the globe. The challenge – to connect and integrate these datasets, intelligently probe them for meaningful information, and then develop practical insight – can be daunting.