Big data may be the next big thing in business and innovation, but is the United States developing systems and training the experts needed to tackle the opportunities presented by the growing collection of unstructured data?
Big data can be amazingly powerful. If properly harnessed, big data processing can deliver cutting edge business intelligence or be used in developing cures for diseases. Decoding the first human genome -- that’s analyzing 3 billion base pairs -- took 10 years the first time it was done in 2003. Now we can do it in a week. So, there are ways of managing these vast amounts of digital data. But there are relatively few solutions for management of big data right now.
Companies like Splunk provide end to end tools for big data management, and their initial public offering proved that the market for these tools is wide open. A Wall Street Journal article identified the biggest detriment to our ability to use and understand big data as a lack of data scientists who are trained specifically in managing and understanding the unique workings of big data.
It’s an emerging field, and that means we have to play catch up with education, and in the meantime, harvest talent from wherever we can get it to ensure that we harness the capabilities of big data.