Revving up the rate of internal change to cope with the external rate of change is often touted as a key to business success with continually evolving consumer preferences. Companies in a range of industries are using big data to optimize inputs that are likely to effect change. While big data is not a new phenomenon as the Wall Street Journal notes the means to manipulate data to produce meaningful solutions for management remains at a formative stage.
The foregoing is about to change as Cloudtimes per a post on the "future of big data". The article notes that "property and casualty firms are also taking advantage of predictive
modeling in their underwriting, quoting, actuarial and pricing
workflows, risk management, customer relationship management, and claims
analysis. Even online pricing optimization strategies and quoting
systems are said to benefit from predictive modeling."
In the travel sphere a long awaited site premised on big data has raised big money including $12m recently in series B financing and promises to launch later this fall. Named Hopper the as yet unborn company says its travel database is growing rapidly with more than half a billion pages of travel data accounted for thus far. Hopper
"expects to double that by the end of the year".The site expectes to capture "travel data such as blog posts, reviews and photos,
and brings the data together in one place for the first time". That would allow "consumers to discover travel destinations
through simple keywords, making travel planning vastly easier" per the company with an expectation that it would eventually be able "to earn revenue from referrals to travel booking sites".
Also on big data the Wall Street Journal's blog on Europe highlights an interesting development in the "visualization of big data" via a new software product named Tableau. Tableau "is a range of software tools that allow pretty much anyone who
can navigate Excel to combine large datasets and produce rich
interactive data presentations. One of the "solutions" offered by visualization is the ability to address
cognitive bias "where people think they know things that
perhaps they don’t, or that they quickly draw conclusions from data that
may not be right". The old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words is clearly as applicable to data as it is to words.