Doing Business in a Big Data World

The Internet and cloud computing have revolutionized the nature of data capture and storage, tempting many companies to adopt a new ‘Big Data’ philosophy: collect all the data you can; all the time. But this new world of Big Data is proving to be much more demanding and complex than expected, requiring companies not only to adopt different technologies, but also to make significant changes to their business strategy, internal skillsets, and organizational structures.

Big Data is Not Just More Data: That’s because the nature of the data we can now collect has changed. Big Data involves not just the structured data (customer name and details, products purchased, how much was spent and when, etc.) that every company is used to capturing, but also unstructured data (data scraped from the Internet and social media channels that may come in a wide variety of formats, from video to voice). It may seem an obscure data management distinction, but this shift toward collecting unstructured data – which is a large part of what Big Data is all about – is sending shock waves across traditional organizations.


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About the Author

Dale NeefDale Neef is a technology advisor, and author of Digital Exhaust: What Everyone Should Know About Big Data, Digitization and Digitally Driven Innovation (FT Press). A veteran of knowledge management, business intelligence, and large-scale technology implementation projects with more than fifty companies worldwide, he has been a technical consultant for the Asian Development Bank, has worked for IBM and Computer Sciences Corporation, and was a fellow at Ernst & Young’s Center for Business Innovation. A frequent contributor to journals, and a regular speaker at technology conferences, he earned his doctorate from Cambridge University, was a research fellow at Harvard, and has written or edited eight books on the economics of knowledge and data management and the use of information technology to mitigate risk. Learn more at

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