Actually, Every Company Is a Big Data Company

Analytics   |   
Published May 23, 2014   |   
Ron Miller

Every day companies collect data about their customers and industries, simply as an artifact of the act conducting business. As I listened to a panel on Big Data yesterday at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass., I had an epiphany: every company is a Big Data company, it’s just that some get it and some don’t.

There is a notion around cloud computing that companies born in the cloud have an advantage over those that are transitioning to the cloud because they have an acute understanding of how it works that a company moving to the cloud can’t possibly match. There is a similar idea of companies that are raised on using data to drive their company and those searching for ways to do that.

Panel member Barry Morris, founder and CEO at NuoDB, repeatedly brought up electric car maker Tesla as an example of a company that uses data as part of the act of doing business to make business decisions. There isn’t this deliberate process of trying to figure out how to use data. They just do it.

As Morris explained, Tesla doesn’t have a committee studying how to take advantage of data. Instead, they are constantly looking at the data being delivered to them from the cars themselves. This data tells them when brake pads are going to wear out, how far people are getting on a single charge to the battery and the most logical place to build the next charging station. They are monitoring every bit of data they can collect, and while they aren’t selling data, they are using it as an integral part of how they do business.

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