Thursday, September 27, 2012

Big Data – different names for the same thing?

Okay, we cannot avoid the truth. Obviously “Big Data” is here to stay. 

For myself I can say that I am by no means a Big Data expert. Large surveys with more than 3.000 participants still have the ability to impress me regarding the enormous amount of data. Maybe I am “old school” :-) 

Nevertheless I am curious to learn more about “Big Data”. Doing so I recognized a lot of well known things from the very beginning of my market research career.

Once upon a time I was working for a German telecommunication company. That was the time when mobile phones were primarily used for calling and messaging and smartphones haven’t been invented yet.

Big brands were called Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson and not Apple and Samsung… However, for each of the more than 20 million customers every minute calling, every message, every megabyte of data was recorded, primarily to bill the right amount of money (flatrates were an exception, mainly offered to and used by business customers). There has been “Big Data” 10 - 15 years ago. 

Similar to now, one of the big challenges in this time was to find solutions of getting use out of the huge amount of data that has been growing minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day… 

Why? Because there was (and there still is) a need to understand consumers’ behavior in order to serve the right customer with the right offer at the right time… An increase in efficiency regarding campaign management was the order of the day, especially in times when the market has got more and more saturated. So analytical CRM came into play and was fueled by Data Mining.

We did a lot of interesting project combining records from the data warehouse with market research results in order to predict behavior. This was a challenge not only because of data protection laws.

I really like the word “Data Mining” because to me it bears some fine connotations such as “craftsmanship” and “working hero”.  In my perspective the attractiveness of Data Mining declines during the past 10 years, but neither I know exactly if this is true nor understand why the perception has changed.

Now we are having not only big data but “Real Big Data”. I am pretty sure that “Data Mining” already has experienced a revival because of what is now called Big Data. And again I am by no means expert for this.

Maybe you are as curious as I. Let’s learn more about Big Data at TMRE via the “Data Analytics and BIG Data” sessions (and maybe about the "rebirth of Data Mining”.

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Today's guest post is from Christian Dössel (@olympiamilano). Christian is Senior Research Director at MM-Eye, a market research and research consulting firm in Hamburg / Germany helping clients from US and Asia to research Europe. He has worked for TNS, TBWA\ and other advertising, strategy and market research agencies helping clients from industries such as finance, transport and logistics, telecommunication and entertainment to understand consumers through market research and to increase implementation excellence. He will be live blogging from The Market Research Event 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida. If you'd like to join him, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

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