January 13, 2016

Big Data Spreading Everywhere Like Air, Deloitte Says

Alex Woodie


For some, the downward trend of the term “big data” on Web word counters and disappearance off hype curves is an indication that the phenomenon has past, that big data is now neither a problem to be solved nor an opportunity to be taken advantage of. But some smart folks see the situation differently, including those at Deloitte Consulting, who say big data has become like the air we breathe.

Deloitte uses the phrase “everywhere analytics” to describe how the rapid evolution of data and analytics is impacting our world. “A few years ago, it [big data] was treated as an up-and-coming trend,” the consulting firm says in its “Analytics Trends 2016” report, which it released today. “Now it’s just the air we breathe in analytics, influencing business strategy and commanding substantial investment every day.”

Deloitte focused its attention on six main areas where it sees data and analytics having major impacts this year and for the next five: Cyber security; the data talent crunch; cognitive computing; the IoT; the merging of traditional science and analytics; and the rise of insight-driven organizations.

  • Cognitive computing (also commonly called artificial intelligence) is poised to rise to the forefront, backed by $1 billion in venture funding the past two years and predictions that it will become a $60 billion business within nine years. “Organizations will need to examine knowledge-intensive processes and determine which tasks can best be performed by machines and which by humans,” Deloitte says. “Some degree of retraining may be necessary. And—let’s face it—there may be some job loss.”
  • You may have heard of the drive to become a “data-driven” organization. In Deloitte’s world, the preferred term is an “insight driven organization,” or IDO (you can read more about its approach at “How Deloitte Transforms Clients into Insight-Driven Organizations“). Becoming an IDO should be the goal of every company with an analytics strategy. “Notching small analytics victories in targeted parts of the business may not be enough for much longer,” the company writes. “For leaders with their eyes on the prize, it’s all about connecting analytics capabilities across the enterprise.”
  • It’s tempting to turn a blind eye towards cybercriminals and go about our business on the Internet as if nothing is wrong. But that is a risky maneuver. Luckily, many of the advances that are being made in big data analytics can be applied to cybersecurity. To Deloitte, it’s about going on offensive and hunting the cyber-crooks before they can strike. “This may mean automated scanning of Internet ‘chatter’ by farflung groups and individuals who may intend cyberharm,” it writes. “It may involve analyzing past hacks and breaches to create predictive models of which threats are likely to surface next.”
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to become a mind-boggling $1.7 billion-business by 2020, making connected devices and people practically the norm in advanced societies. “It’s difficult to think of an industry that can’t be transformed or improved by the IoT,” the management consulting firm writes. “While considerable effort remains to develop IoT standards and link up sensor-based data, there are already many possible applications that can provide value
  • The analytics talent gap looms large as organizations scramble to hire skilled professionals and universities struggle to churn out candidates with the statistical training needed. Deloitte recommends a few paths out of the mess, including working with intern programs at universities, creating “meaningful career paths” for data scientists, and tapping the availability of skills in third-party analytic service providers.
  • Data analytics—in the guise of “applied statistics”–has been a big part of the traditional sciences, such as molecular biology and astrophysics, for many years. Now some of the analytic techniques that scientists devised to solve problems in their domains is finding its way into other industries like retail, telecom and healthcare. For example, a financial services company is using a technique devised by DNA researchers to analyze strings of text stored in hundreds of thousands of emails. “[T]he business community is actively hunting for science-based approaches that can give them the edge,” Deloitte says.

These are some of the trends that Deloitte sees shaping the analytics landscape for years to come, says John Lucker, principal, Deloitte Consulting. “Business leaders continue to face many varying challenges and opportunities, and staying ahead of these trends will have a lasting impact on how their organizations will operate in the future,” he says.

To read Deloitte’s entire Analytic Trends report—it’s third such report—click here.

Related Items:

Is 2016 the Beginning of the End for Big Data?

How Deloitte Transforms Clients into Insight-Driven Organizations

Why Gartner Dropped Big Data Off the Hype Curve

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