Posted by Andrew | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-12-2013
ARC provided by NetGalley
Big data. What is it and why the heck do we keep hearing people talk about it? Hasn’t it been around for years and years? Haven’t we always looked at data? Yes..and no. In Big Data at Work author Tom Davenport, expert in analytics, shares with us that at one time he too thought big data was just a retread of old information. But then he started looking into it and he discovered…big data is new. In this book Davenport tells us in a concise, nonsense, and nontechnical way of what big data is and why it should matter to us.
Davenport starts us at the very beginning of explaining in simple, easy to understand terms and illustrations as to what big data is and why it’s different from regular analytics. Big data, as Davenport explains, consists of unstructured data–such as comments on a feedback form; is made up of 100 terabytes or more of information; and that it is a continuous flow of data, it doesn’t stop just because a survey ends. Davenport clearly explains to us that not everyone will need big data or people to analyze it, but walks us through the different aspects that might be of interest to us, why it matters, and how we can go about implementing it in our own businesses. He shares with us how companies the size of Netflix and Google are using big data to help change their approach at how they interact with their users, but even more importantly he shares with us how startups are utilizing big data to get ahead of their peers.
Even more importantly for me, Davenport explains to readers about how to get people on board with wanting to examine big data and how to build a strategy and framework into implementing it. I say it’s the most important for me, because so many authors put out pie in the sky dreams or hopes, or suggest things that are only practical for businesses the size of Google. Davenport instead talks about how to do this on a practical small scale and gives us examples of how it has worked for different groups already in existence.
For anyone that is interested in the study of data, whether big or small, and how you can utilize it in your place of work, this is a must have book. Davenport’s clear and concise terminology will help you understand it and explain it to others that you work with, even if they think that data crunching is looking at 2 spreadsheets at a time. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and it will definitely have a place on my book shelf.