There is gold in them there hills!
The discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 sparked the Gold Rush, arguably one of the most significant events to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century.
As news spread of the discovery, thousands of prospective gold miners travelled by sea or over land to San Francisco and the surrounding area; by the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory was some 100,000 (compared with the pre-1848 figure of less than 1,000). A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.
In today’s money that same $2 billion of gold would be worth $50 billion.
The Promise of Big Data
Big data is expected to drive $34 billion of IT spending in 2013, but though organisations are intrigued by the promises of big data solutions, most are still trying to figure out how the technology fits into their strategy. In the 1800’s it was a case of shovels and pick axes to get at the raw material. In today’s world huge machines and hydraulic drills extract the material at an extraordinary rate. We are at the same point in terms of data and information. Those first few prospectors have discovered those nuggets of gold and word is getting around quick that ‘there is gold in them there hills’
Businesses are eager to spend money on big data, but few have a clear cut plan for what they plan to do with the technology, according to a new Gartner report. 64% of organisations surveyed have already purchased or are planning to invest in big data solutions in 2013, compared with 58% in 2012. Of that 64%, 30% have already invested in big data tech, 19% plan to invest within the next year and another 15% plan to invest within two years. Less than 8% of Gartner’s 720 respondents, however, have actually deployed big data technology, why is that?
For me, most organisations need to go a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness. After all businesses don’t want to be prospecting for fool’s gold! Let me give you some examples:
- For a doctor to get real-time information about a baby in a critical condition around blood pressure, temperature, heart rate etc. and have software constantly monitoring for early signs of infection becomes gold.
- For a police officer to know that a suspect is likely to appear at a certain time in a certain place to commit a crime and be there before the crime is committed is his gold.
- Sending the engineer with the right component to right commercial airliner knowing it’s going to fail in flight the next time that plane flies is gold.
The difference today from the gold rush of the 1800’s is we are producing data, the information that we need in order to better our lives and bring more to others. We don’t have to wait millions of years for the Earth to produce the raw materials; we are doing it ourselves.
Right now there are many companies that have pick axes and shovels but are scratching the surface. Once we start to self-analyse we start the process of self-betterment that in turn will lead to the betterment of the communities and people we serve. There are no technology barriers to asking those tough questions. We are the barrier.
Let’s stop and think – what’s our gold & whose lives can we change with it.
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