Big Data Predictions for 2015 – CDOs, the Scientific Method and “Big Insights”

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Neil_BiehnIn this special guest feature, Neil Biehn of PROS provides his unique insights into how Big Data will progress in 2015 and beyond. Neil Biehn, Ph.D. is Vice President of Data Science and Research at PROS Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: PRO), a big data software company that helps customers outperform in their markets by using big data to sell more effectively. 

Another year has come and gone, with 2015 on the horizon. As we reflect on the first 14 years of this century, it’s hard to remember that it’s been 15 years since the “dot com bubble” crash. Since that time, big data has made its way into our language and been randomly thrown about, associated with any number of opportunities and promises of what it can do. We believe we’ll see changes this year that will begin to consolidate what’s really meant by “big data” with far better definitions of the value it can actually deliver.

One prediction that we believe will trump all others this year – especially in the big data space – is around analytics: if you’re not using big data analytics in 2015 you are very much behind the curve among your competitors. The amount of data in corporate infrastructures grows every year both in volume and complexity. In 2015, we believe if companies aren’t using prescriptive and predictive analytics to take advantage of the strategic assets resident in their vast array of systems, they’re losing their ability to compete and win. The art of doing business is becoming more complex, and prescriptive and predictive analytics are now table stakes for driving enhanced revenue performance.

Here are some other ideas to watch in 2015:

Chief Data Officers (CDOs) will stay relevant in Silicon Valley, but data governance is everywhere. The emerging CDO role has been made popular by data-driven Silicon Valley organizations including, among others, Yahoo and even the city of San Francisco. Looking beyond the Valley bubble, you may not find many CDOs. We predict a big increase in the need for more data governance as data moves from solely an opportunity to a strategic corporate asset.

“Data science” becomes more scientific. Historically,we’ve seen the term data science primarily associated with tools and software technology. In 2015, we predict a return to its scientific roots, with a focus on data scientists who listen closely to the business to hypothesize potential solutions, test those hypotheses with data, observe their outcomes and, finally, recommend solutions. We predict a big shift from buzzwords and technology platforms into the fundamental principles of the Scientific Method.

The focus on “big data” finally transitions to “big insights.” We expect to see “big data” used less frequently. Instead, we’ll see an increased focus on the hidden assets found in data using predictive and prescriptive analytics – the “big insights.” It’s these big insights that provide actual business value and help companies make easier, faster and smarter decisions about how to better engage with customers and drive revenue. CEOs are looking for ways to connect their own data to drive predictive and prescriptive insights that capture strategic business value from their systems. And that won’t cease in 2015.

Organizations have spent billions of dollars on their corporate ERP systems and related infrastructure. With petabytes of data, they’re sitting on big data gold mines. As CEOs look for better opportunities to use these big data assets to evaluate how their companies are performing, they’ll look for new solutions that bring their vision to reality. As 2015 unfolds, we’ll see changes in the world of big data as even more companies turn to using predictive and prescriptive analytics as competitive differentiators and as scorecards for how their companies are performing.


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