Working in the world of conventional data management it is easy to “go native” - viewing opportunities to improve marketing performance or drive business growth in terms of increments. Getting an increase that is measured in low single figures equates to success, especially if that growth is higher than the annual inflation rate.
Only occasionally do breakthroughs present themselves, offering a chance to transform the existing marketing or business model. Usually this occurs early in the maturity curve when the introduction of analytics leads to a shift in thinking and much better outcomes.
So when you encounter people who view data in terms of its potential to completely transform business, society, the environment and more, it is both refreshing and startling. Yet that is precisely what those behind both the open data and big data movements believe. A new report by Forbes Insight suggests Europe could gain a $900 billion benefit through big data. While open data has yet to quantify its potential in the same way, its advocates expect to see similar upswings once their projects come to be implemented.
And there is the rub. For all the excitement surrounding these start-ups and projects, very few have yet gone beyond the prototype and testing stage. Reaching a stable, industrial-scale operation still lies ahead. That said, it is important to take on board the energy and “head in the skies” optimism, while also remembering to keep one foot on the ground.