Normally I don’t care for statistics; they are often used subjectively in order to prove a point or win a weak argument. In the words of 19th century British prime minister Disraeli and often referred to by Mark Twain, “there are three kinds of lies in this world: lies, damned lies and statistics.” But recently I read a number of research pieces that highlighted first the amount of data and information out there, and how data analytics today means that information can be used objectively and with great certainty to prove a theory. In fact, the articles got me thinking: in a world where data volumes are doubling in size every two years, there is an enormous potential out there for smart companies to collect data and grow their business by turning data into a commercial proposition. Some may refer to it as the monetization of data. I call it harvesting the digital age.
The first research piece I read deals with digital activity and how many information points are created by us tech-savvy humans. For instance, did you know that every minute, 47,000 apps are downloaded from the Apple AppStore? That 204,166,667 e-mails are sent, that Google returns over 2 millions online searches or that a bewildering $250,000 is spent online on retail or gaming sites. Staggering numbers when you consider what their daily totals must be. The point of this is simple: as the data explosion continues to grow in size, there is an enormous opportunity for businesses to harvest it and create data-centric solutions and services.
Another research piece that I came across is – as an adult – a scary one. It talked of the average age of a child when they start to use technology. For example, you may be shocked to learn that the average age of a child who has a TV in their bedroom is just 6 years. Or that children start to use the internet unsupervised at age 9. A child has their first e-mail account at 9.5 years old and their first mobile phone at 9.9 years. When it comes to using social media channels for the first time, the average is just 10.8 years. My point here is that the digital demographic is getting younger and younger; the sooner a child starts using a phone or interacting on social network sites, the more information points are created. And as night follows day, as today’s generation becomes tomorrow’s business folk, there will be even more data to be captured and analyzed which in turn offers more commercial advantages for businesses. Generation Y may be smarter when it comes to technology, but that in turn means more data. I wonder just how much the next generation will create.
Some might find the prospect of ever burgeoning data volumes a scary one, but the digital revolution is only set to continue and evolve into something bigger. The question is what companies can do about it. There is immense value to be had in analyzing data but can businesses harvest this huge growth? The answer is yes, but they just need to have a concept about what it is that they want to analyze and offer as a commerical proposition to customers. Technology such as Hadoop and Vectorwise will take care of the rest.
Rest assured: there is an inordinate amount of data and information out there in today’s digital age, even more so tomorrow. And if you are not using it to create new solutions or services, then you can bet that someone else will. So while 19th century Disraeli may not have liked the use of statistics to bolster an argument and Mark Twain may have mocked the subjective use of half-baked numbers, the 21st century is a very different place: companies now have the technology at their fingertips to mine, analyze and extract value from data and turn this as a commercial offering, giving users nuggets of information that allow them – with great certainty – to create a competitive advantage.
So, the question is this: with all this data out there and with businesses looking for new ways to succeed, isn’t it time you thought about harvesting the digital revolution?
 Source: IDC
 Source: Domo.com
 Source : ESET UK