Companies are rebranding what they have offered for many years as "big data solutions", Financial Times CIO Christina Scott warned delegates at Computing's Big Data Summit today.
Speaking at Computing's flagship event on the topic "Assessing the value of Big Data - is it worth the investment", Scott explained why she is a partial cynic about the hype surrounding the term ‘big data'.
"I'm a partial cynic [about big data]. A lot of companies have rebranded what they've already done as big data, so you have to be aware of that. [Big data] can revolutionise business but not the technology - it's the analytics [that is important]," she said.
Martyn Croft, CIO at the Salvation Army, agreed with Scott on this last point, adding that there are now analytics tools on the market to enable organisations to discover more about the data.
Transport for London's (TfL) head of analytics, Lauren Sager Weinstein, said that big data could be looked upon as a "fad" but in terms of structuring businesses better, data analysis is key.
"It is a lot to do with the skills and tools. There are different skills required in order to write the code for programming but also for understanding the data; some people have both skills but you need a mix of both," she said.
However, technical tools are not always necessary in order to look at data, FT's Scott said.
"The FT has a team of 30 data analysts, which is a large team. They can do quite a lot even using Excel. In terms of the FT's subscription process, they could look at what's occurring and decrease the dropout by 100 people."
All of the participants of the panel discussion agreed that it is the analytics and not the technology behind big data that makes the difference.
"We are trying to improve what people do by putting analytics on top of [the technology]. The focus is on analytics and data and not on the tools," Tony Scott, global enterprise architect at Arup, explained.
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