2015 Predictions: What will happen to big data and data science?

What’s next in the world of big data? Commonplace terms begin to vanish as businesses put an increased emphasis on the predictive and prescriptive analytics needed to drive value.

Big Data Trends By Neil Biehn, Dec 2014

Organizations have spent billions of dollars on ERP and CRM systems, and today they’re sitting on petabytes of big data gold mines. The most astute CEOs are looking for new opportunities to use their data assets to extract predictive and prescriptive analytics that evaluate how their companies are performing. From sales, to pricing and profitability, and even customer attrition, companies are learning to use this data to better serve their customers, and drive value for their products and services. As 2015 unfolds, we’ll see changes in the world of big data as even more companies use predictive and prescriptive analytics as competitive differentiators:

“Big data” becomes a term of the past:

In 2015, we’ll see the buzz term “big data” significantly erode and begin to vanish. In contrast, we’ll see increased focus on the hidden assets found in data using predictive and prescriptive analytics. It’s these analytics that provide actual business value and help companies make easier, faster and smarter decisions about how to better engage with customers and drive top-line revenue. CEOs are looking not for more data, but how they can connect data with predictive and prescriptive insights to capture strategic business value resident in their systems.

“Data Science” becomes science: 

Over the past few years, we've seen the term data science associated primarily with tools and software technology.  In 2015, we expect a return to its scientific roots -- listening closely to the business in order to hypothesize potential solutions, testing those hypotheses with data, observing their outcomes and finally, recommending a solution. We see a big shift from buzz words and technology platforms into the fundamental principles of the Scientific Method.

If you’re not using big data analytics you’re already behind the competitive curve:

The amount of data in corporate infrastructures grows every year both in volume and complexity. In 2015, if companies aren’t using prescriptive and predictive analytics to take advantage of the strategic assets resident in their vast array of systems, they’re losing their ability to compete and win. The art of doing business grows in complexity every year, and prescriptive and predictive analytics are now table stakes.

Chief Data Officers (CDOs) aren’t the norm outside of Silicon Valley, but data governance is:

Data-driven Silicon Valley organizations like Yahoo and even the City of San Francisco have paved the way for the emerging CDO role. Beyond the Valley, you may not find many CDOs, but we’ll see a big increase in the need for more data governance in 2015 as data moves from an opportunity to an asset.

While we can’t know for sure if each of these things will come true, we do know that the world of big data is changing. It’s no longer about just having access to data and the ability to store it, but instead the ability to achieve actionable results with data through predictive and prescriptive analytics. Only time will tell how this evolves, but if you aren’t leveraging data to compete and win, it’s time to get on board.

Neil Biehn Ph.D., is vice president of science & research at PROS, Inc. where for the past 12 years he has researched pricing, revenue and profit optimization, and the underlying data science. During his tenure, Biehn has designed pricing algorithms and optimization models for companies in the manufacturing, distribution, services, travel and transportation industries.