Businesses have been trying for eons to gain competitive advantage by better understanding their customers. But the challenge today is very different from even the fairly recent past.
Since before John Wanamaker famously said, “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half,” in the early 1900s, the difficulty was in collecting enough data to make informed decision. Until nearly a century later, that remained the highest hurdle.
Although the term information explosion dates to the 1940s, and big data was first used in the 1990s, it’s really only within the past couple of decades that using data has become a bigger challenge than simply gathering it. As Synopsis reports:
“The Internet, mobile, and the cloud are all enabling the rapid growth of data. In 2007, at the start of the mobile era, we generated 0.5 ZB of data worldwide. By 2011 at the start of the cloud era this had increased 4x to 2 ZB. In the 9 years since data has increased more than 15x worldwide. The rate at which we generate data is increasing exponentially with 90% of existing data created in the past two years.”
It’s no longer particularly difficult for enterprises to collect data or store it. The challenges now center around three key trends: