Growing up, you dream of becoming an adventurer who unveils treasures like a bad ass pirate. Today, anyone can make that dream happen by digging and creating value from big data, you just have to stumble upon the right data.

Start by considering what data you have access to and also what data is freely available, particularly online. Try to think of uses for the data that are different from the reason it was initially collected, and of how this data could serve different groups or organizations by being combined with other data.

Finally, think about data from the point of view of different industries or businesses, and about how they could benefit from it. In doing so, you may stumble upon an idea for a new service or product that turns the data around you into an information gold mine.

Data Is The New Oil

Data is the new oil - Human Face of Big Data | EMC UKI

With the rise of Internet companies such as Facebook , Twitter and Google , and the popularity of smart devices, we have become familiar with things such as our relationship statuses, comments, preferences and location being stored as data that can then be analyzed.

This trend is part of the process of capturing information about your world in the form of data. Because we can discover valuable insights from such data, we are likely to see the trend continue, with innovations in capturing data from sources we had not previously thought of as information.

Big data frees us from the limitations of using small samples of data to represent whole populations.

When companies collect data, they generally have a specific purpose in mind:

  • Stores collect sales data for their financial accounting
  • Factories monitor their output to track productivity
  • Websites track mouse movements over their pages to optimize their customers’ user experience.

Consider, too, the interbank payment system Swift, which collects data on the billions of financial transactions it processes across the globe in order to provide accurate customer records.

But, increasingly, companies are finding secondary uses for the data they have collected that are sometimes even more valuable than the original use.

For example, Swift discovered that its payment data correlates well with global economic activity. As a result, the company now offers highly accurate GDP forecasts derived from their transaction data.

Similarly, mobile phone companies amass real-time location data from their users as part of routing calls. This data has numerous potential uses, from monitoring traffic flows to delivering personal location-based advertising.

This trend has not gone unnoticed. Big-data-savvy companies and individuals, aware of the value of such data, are already designing products and systems to capitalize on the potential secondary uses of the data they and others collect.

Although data is generally collected for a specific purpose, there are often secondary applications that hold even greater value.

Anyone can spot new opportunities to create value from the data around them you just need the right mindset.

Owning vast amounts of data is not much use if you don’t know what to do with it. Equally, having the skills and tools to analyze data is of little use if you don’t own any data or don’t know where to get it.

At face value, the information seems of little use after it has performed its primary function returning search results to the user but companies such as Experian allow clients to mine this data to learn about their potential customers’ tastes and market trends, a veritable gold mine to any retail company.

The key to these individuals’ successes is having a big-data mindset: an ability to recognize where available data can be mined for information of value to many people.

Although people with such a mindset may not necessarily have data or data analysis skills, they are adept at spotting opportunities and capitalizing on them before others do.

Big Data

It’s clear that as economies are starting to form around data, more and more people are beginning to recognize the potential value of data and attempt to extract it. Individuals and companies that have a big-data mindset are best placed to capitalize on this data gold rush.

Anyone can spot new opportunities to create value from the data around them you just need the right mindset.

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