..the trouble is I don't know which half- to adapt a quote attributed to John Wanamaker a pioneer in marketing  talking about advertising.

The IDC forecast (see link below) investment in analytics & big data projects increasing 56% by 2020. This covers a wide and varied range of use cases from simple visualisations to complex predictive analytics. 

Analytics and big data are both a means to an end. In my opinion, one reason for continued rapid growth is a continual disappointment in the actual results achieved to date. See "Damning analysis of Analytics". Too many analytics projects are ill-conceived and still work on top of questionable data. "So let's try this big data stuff (even though we have not mastered the basic data and analytics yet)"

Beyond the vanity driving some of the C-Level suite to adopt the best looking visualisations, to impress peers and customer, should lie higher ideals.

Making and executing better decisions that will make a big & positive change in business, science, non-profits, central and local government.

Unless leaders clearly know: 

  • what decisions need to be made
  • how they will be executed effectively
  • what data is required to drive this decisioning process

 they should not invest!

When deeply involved in product marketing at Cadbury I well remember that old saying "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." 

I have a gnawing feeling that a similar worry may haunt many investors in analytics and big data projects today. The way to avoid that is to start at the right place, make sure the data is effectively prepared and managed before dipping the toe in yet more analytics technology.