By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
A new survey recently released from KPMG LLP and taken during Oracle OpenWorld shows that among other things, management is facing challenges in analyzing the explosion of unstructured data from mobile devices, websites and even social media. In fact, more than one quarter of respondents said their biggest challenge was dealing with the data that was “raining” in from other sources.
Jeanne E. Johnson, who leads KPMG’s Data & Analytics (D&A) innovation initiative, talked with Big4.com recently about the survey’s findings and what they meant for a data driven economy. Johnson started by mentioning the survey focused in on a broader trend which was the combination of the latest catchphrases, Big Data and Big Analytics.
“Traditionally workflow and transactional information is very defined. The customer has a number and the order probably has a number. It’s structured using tools like excel spreadsheets,” she said. The unstructured data that’s one of the focuses of the new study is more about its namesake.
Text, email and natural language
“It’s text and email,” Johnson said. “It’s natural language. It’s not defined in terms of how long it is and the concept of ‘Big Data’ comes from the fact there’s so much of it that comes in all these different forms. It’s the hardest to access and the hardest to corral.”
Herein lies the need, according to the survey, for modernizing old methods of measuring, monitoring and assuring the quality of data.
“It remains a huge challenge to harness this kind of data as it is not only generated from disparate reporting systems, but is generated by a wide variety of external stakeholders,” Johnson said.
She went on to say it was only recently that some of the new technologies have made it possible to bring all the disparate elements together. Johnson also made it clear that the buying patterns and preferences that show up on places like social media channels were critical for modern firms looking to have a finger on the pulse of different generation’s preferences.
“We’re actually seeing a number of technologies coming together. There are things that scour the web and blogs as well as social media sites and things to look for analytics and correlations,” she said calling these a “first generation” of mining efforts.
She was also quick to point there was a bridge needed between accessing these massive stockpiles of data and getting the information that any company needs. Still the awareness needs to be more pointed toward streamlining these procedures. That fact is echoed clearly in the survey findings since 29 percent of respondents said advances in data and analytics would fundamentally change their business or industry in the next five years.
“We see a massive intersection with Big Data and Big Analytics since they are changing the ways business is conducted,” Johnson said. She finished by mentioning how the relationship between even the different departments in a business have changed with the focus toward this unstructured digital data and how once clear roles are now redefined.
“It needs to be a much more ongoing partnership with social collaboration and Big Data Analytics.”