Big data – a huge opportunity or a big challenge?12 August 2012

The practice of processing large quantities of data to detect patterns and trends has become one of the most promising developments in IT in recent years.

Whether it is analysing topics of conversation on Twitter, purchase prices or public health statistics, big data can alert us to social trends and movements in markets much more quickly and accurately than by conventional forecasting techniques and can help us make more informed management decisions.

But just how big will big data become? How will it affect your company and what management skills will be needed to exploit its potential? These are amongst the questions posed by UQ Business School to businesses as part of the ‘Challenging the Future’ campaign to mark the School’s tenth anniversary.

According to a report in 2011 by the World Economic Forum, big data is redrawing the boundaries of business and could be viewed as a new class of economic asset, like oil.

Peter Green, Professor of Electronic Commerce at UQ Business School, says: “Big data offers huge potential to drive business benefits – for example by providing more insight on asset performance such as toll roads and call centres, and better forecasting and customer segmentation information, allowing products and services to be tailored more closely to customer needs.”

“Retail, health, public services, finance and insurance could all make substantial productivity gains from big data. The effective use of big data will become the basis for competition and managers in every sector will need to know how to exploit its potential. The result will be a major skills shortage which has implications for business strategy,” says Dr Elizabeth Ferrier, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at UQ Business School.

Andrew Griffiths, Dean of UQ Business School, said: “As we celebrate the end of our first decade, we’re encouraging organisations to look to the challenges of the future. UQ Business School aims to help firms to keep abreast of issues like big data and be prepared. Over the next ten years we will be playing a key role in helping Australian business to adapt to the changes and develop the skills and solutions necessary to support a thriving economy.”

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