Top 10 big data myths and misconceptions

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6. Big data won't land you in jail
At this point we're getting into rather controversial territory, but Gartner's Feinberg is of the belief that we'll see certain high-profile data collectors overstep the mark and land themselves in serious legal hot water.

"How many of your CIOs will go to jail? If you think I'm kidding, I would actually say that another strategic planning assumption is that I think the president of Facebook will go to jail before he leaves Facebook. I don't know when, but it will happen." Hyperbole or not, it's probably worth considering.

7. The government isn't interested in your social media data
Many people enjoy hurling abuse at politicians on Twitter - they probably don't read it anyway, right? Perhaps not, but there is some value to understanding the general feeling of the electorate, as Feinberg explains:

"Mr Obama [cares], because he got elected. If you look at how that election went, his team used social data and sentiment analysis to find out where to target the places where he wasn't winning. I'm not saying it was the only reason he won, but even in government, social data and observation data becomes important."

8. You need new data to make use of analytics
As long as you have a business objective and a data warehouse full of juicy ones and zeroes, you should be able to make use of your data.

Studies have shown that most businesses which have made use of big data already had the information but only made sense of it once they came up with a sensible question and the analytical means to answer it.
For example, global logistics firm DHL explained to V3 earlier this week that while it kept track of all of its parcels at every stage, it was unable to make use of the data until it completely overhauled its analytics systems.

9. There are plenty of people who can use big data
Wrong. This is a big problem, and it's worldwide. Gartner statistics say that there is such a lack of skilled data scientists, up to 75 percent of the positions required for all companies to make use of big data will go unfilled. Competition is rife. In other words, it's a great profession to be in.

Having said that - it depends what you define as a data scientist. Tesco's Duncan Apthorp, who works directly with a huge amount of data, said that his firm isn't feeling the pinch as good university ties coupled to competitive career opportunities mean graduates are fighting to work for the firm.

10. Big companies know what they're doing
Apparently not. According to Gartner research based on case studies of hundreds of companies: "In 2016, 85 percent of fortune 500 companies will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage."

Tasso Argyros, senior vice president at Teradata, told V3: "Traditional business intelligence starts with a well-defined question. In big data discovery you have a starting point - but it's not a business question, it's a business goal. The problem is that you don't know what questions to ask or what data to use.
 Businesses who just say ‘look at this data, let's play with it' normally fail."

So no, not everybody knows what they're doing - and it's difficult to work out how to use vast swathes of data efficiently.

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

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