Big Data/ Little Consultants – any overlap?
A lively group of Eastern region members met at Pensthorpe Natural Park café near Fakenham in Norwich for a discussion entitled ‘Big Data/Little Consultants – is there any overlap’?
We started by asking the question – what actually is Big Data? There were various suggestions including:
- The it’s not what we do definition – Big data are large data sets of behavioural or social research data not collected during formal market research processes.
- The Wikipedia definition – Big data is data sets that are so big and complex that traditional data-processing application software are inadequate to deal with them.
It seems Big Data may come in many formats – customer behaviour data, government statistics, environmental and economic monitoring indices, and health or biological data, are just some examples. The beauty of Big Data is that it can be mined to explore relationships, interrogated to investigate specific queries, or used to create visualisations that show relationships and patterns.
As the discussion moved on it seems that the key question is how could Big Data be useful to projects we work on. There was a bit of disagreement with some thinking Big Data was a distraction that is not relevant, while others see it as a way to add more depth to design/analysis of research projects and/or as mode of targeting respondents and/or collecting lots more relevant data.
We all felt it could be very useful to have access to big retailer customer or tech provider online behavioural data – but how can we as little consultants achieve that? It would be useful to hear about the experiences of other ICG members in this area. Have they have gained access to Big data and how might they have used it if so? We also wondered if there are strategies to help suppliers work with retailers or tech companies by jointly using proprietary data to create win-win outcomes.
And we discussed how the ICG does not seem to currently attract many data scientists. Should there be an active recruitment drive for these type of skills? Would it help ICG members pull together more holistic projects that answer clients needs more effectively? And are there data sets or data mining tools that the ICG could subscribe to as a benefit to members?
Finally we thought that it does seem that Big Data is here to stay – so Little or not we need to get number crunching!!