( In this SmartBits, Arun Krishnan outlines “What is big data/analytics?“. The video is at the end of this blog)
Analytics is a buzzword these days. But quite honestly, we have been doing analytics for a long time. If you think about it, the animals flight or fight response is analytics. It uses its past experience, like if the grass in Savannah is moving, is it because of the lion or wind?
The reason it has become so buzzwordy is primarily because of digitisation and the explosion in terms of compute power that we now have at our fingertips, and also the ease with which the data gets processed. Twenty years ago grid computing concept was quite prevalent which then slowly morphed into Big Data and now the buzzword is AI. Everybody wants to use that term and so it is essentially a way to look at patterns within data and take meaningful decisions. This is how analytics can be looked at in the current scenario.
We all think and assume that businesses have the best systems, but that’s not the truth. Even the biggest organizations are still very spreadsheet oriented, though there may be specific departments like Sales or Finance that make use of analytics to a larger extent. Again specific Industries like Banking and Finance sector have been using mathematical models and tools to forecast.
There is a lot of talk but it is more than what’s on the ground. Personally I am a big believer that the more we crunch data, the more we can identify patterns and the better outcomes we get, and some companies do it really well. Classic examples would be Amazon, Google or Facebook. They are good at it. But there are industry segments where there is a lot of scope to use analytics for betterment.