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Big data and your sector in 2017


This year we’re going to see businesses starting of all sizes realise the potential of big data. Given the widely publicised benefits around customer intelligence, sales tracking and working processes to name a few, adoption rates of data analytics are growing quickly, especially as heads of business are beginning to understand its potential.

But, in dealing with such massive volumes of information, business owners could be forgiven for being overwhelmed and unsure where to start. So, to help, I canvassed the views of some of the most established names in business, who have been working with data for some time, to understand from them, what will be big in their sector this year and what other businesses should be looking out for:


Jon Everitt, Group Data Architect at Camelot Global, provided some interesting insights into how big data will continue to disrupt the retail sector, acting as an increasingly important means of competitive advantage. Speaking about the biggest changes we can expect to see in 2017, Jon says that “with technology architecture rapidly evolving, the time taken to identify credible business insight will be further reduced, enabling greater business agility and a better experience for retail customers. Predictive analytics will also be huge this year. Modern data architecture is able to stream information in real-time to bring in greater and more disparate data sets. The classic example being consumer behaviour analysis for retail – what adverts people consume, website dwell times, and click through rates. The next step is not just about seeing what people have done, but what they didn’t do, and why.”

In 2017 and beyond, big data will help us to assess health outcomes more accurately – that’s according to Daniel Ray, Director of Data Science at NHS Digital. Elaborating on this, Daniel explained that big data will play an increasingly important role in analysing treatment options and associated cancer patient survival rates next year: “Using big data, we’re able to analyse why survival rates are so much higher in some parts of the country than others – for particular diseases it ranges from a 5-10% survival rate to a 60% survival rate in various parts of the countries. There is a lot more we’ll be able to do when we can link these datasets together, in terms of understanding and addressing this variation, under appropriate governance.”



My colleague, Eliano Marques, global data science practice lead, Think Big also expects to see huge strides forward in the Telco sector. Specifically around breaking silos across departments and functions with companies starting to, “adopt an integrated big data strategy that will be able to better identify what would be the best-recommended action for a client. It is only when telcos escape these silos that they will be able to work at scale with big data, sharing it effectively across the business to enable more accurate predictions about what to do next with customers.”

He also believes we’ll see more ‘operationalisation of complex projects’, running production and extracting business value. “Telcos are big, and they want to be using big data on a much bigger scale than they are currently managing. Partnerships with social media giants are inevitable, at which point the amount of data coming into the networks will reach record levels. The opportunity to monetise on this level is huge, but only if telcos can manage smarter frameworks to capitalise on today’s big data technologies.”


Finally, one of the sectors hotly tipped to continue its adoption of big data is manufacturing. One of the big things that manufacturers are looking to do is to save money and reduce their costs, and now data analytics are helping them to find ways to do just that. It is revealing issues and problems that were otherwise hidden or were found much later in the manufacturing process. This is enabling manufacturers to make the necessary changes in process, almost real-time, that can result in higher yields, lower costs, and higher quality products.

2017 is expected to be the year of big data roll out on a larger scale, and across more geographic markets. The implications of not doing so are simply becoming too evident, and as such, are feeding a growing business intolerance for acting on instinct as opposed to intelligence.

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