“I saw it coming last year,” says Brian Hopkins, Research Analyst of Enterprise Architecture, Forrester Research.
“Big data isn’t what it used to be. Not because firms are disillusioned with the technology, but rather because the term is no longer helpful.”
With nearly two-thirds of firms having implemented or planning to implement some big data capability by the end of 2015, Hopkins believes the wave has definitely hit. People have bought in.
“But that doesn’t mean we find many firms extolling the benefits they should be seeing by now; even early adopters still have problems across the customer lifecycle,” Hopkins adds.
“Can your firm understand customers as individuals, not segments? Are analytics driving consistent, insightful experiences across channels?
“Does all that customer insight developed by marketing make a bit of difference to your contact centre agents?”
For Hopkins, when asking such questions to most most firms the answer is usually; ‘Not yet but we are working on it.’
What’s more, Hopkins believes firms expect big data will deliver the goods.
“In fact about three in four leaders tell us that they expect big data analytics to help improve and optimise customer experiences,” he adds. “That is a huge expectation.
“I think big data is going to be a big let down when it comes to customer engagement and experience optimisation.”
Here is why, explains Hopkins.
“Big data is about turning more data into insight,” he adds. “In fact, our latest data and analytics survey tells me that big data plans are still overwhelming an IT department thing.
“As such they have fallen victim to supply side thinking - just furnish the data and the technology, “the business” will do the rest. Really?”
For Hopkins, big data will not help businesses:
• Ensure insights are tested for value against business outcomes
• Deliver insights at the point of decision in software
• Close the loop between actions, digital reactions and learning
“You will need to do these things to in order to move the needle on digital engagement,” Hopkins adds. “But big data will not get you there. That’s the paradox.”
At present, Hopkins and fellow Forrester Research colleague Ted Schadler are bouncing the idea and language of systems of insight off every business and technology leader they find.
“Systems of insight are the business discipline and technology to harness insights and turn data into action,” Hopkins adds.
“Systems of insight deliver what big data cannot - effective action through insights driven software; after all that’s the only thing firms really care about.
"This idea is strongly resonating with business executives who are sick to death of all the IT led, vendor inspired big data song and dance."
Hopkins claims that it is time technology leaders, stop talking about big data and start talking about the insights-to-execution made possible by creating systems of insight that drive digital businesses.
“This trend is only just starting and the impact will be huge,” Hopkins adds.
"Insights master who get this are going to spank firms that cling to big data and the “data driven” mantra. Guarantee it."