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Turning Big Data into Big Insights

Hal Conick

Companies are expected to spend $92 billion on Big Data by 2026, but will they see ROI? If they focus on actionable insights, they can.

Big Data is everywhere in the world of marketing. Symposiums, staff meetings, articles and reports. It’s easier to list business functions where Big Data is not mentioned by marketers at every turn. Numbers cited in a recent blog post by Brian Hopkins, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, lead one to believe that many companies’ focus on Big Data isn’t getting the desired results. Hopkins writes that while 74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven,” only 29% say they are able to connect analytics to action. Worse still, business satisfaction with analytics dropped 21% between 2014 and 2015.

Although companies seem unsatisfied by their Big Data capabilities, they continue to swell the budget with new tools, software and capabilities. Worldwide revenue of the Big Data market is expected to skyrocket from $18.3 billion in 2014 to $92.2 billion by 2026, according to Wikibon. 

Irfan Kamal, vice president of marketing at Aspiration, wrote a 2012 post for Harvard Business Review, titled “Metrics are Easy; Insight is Hard,” that noted how difficult it was for companies to find insights among large swaths of data. Has anything improved in 2016? Kamal isn’t sure many companies are making progress.

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Hal Conick is a freelance writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at halconick@gmail.com or on Twitter at @HalConick.