Big Data: A Solution to Avoiding the Next Economic Crisis?

February 7th, 2014

As Big Data comes of age, it will play an increasingly large role in driving the economy – as well as the decisions made by companies as they plan for their financial futures.

As a business leader, you’ll be hard pressed to maintain your competitive edge unless you can effectively harness the power of Big Data – and you’ll need the right talent to do it. And, here comes the scary part: The estimated shortage of individuals in the U.S. alone who have the skillsets to take on Big Data will be somewhere between 140,000 and 180,000 by 2018.

What’s an employer to do? And what role will Big Data play in avoiding fiscal meltdown?

Big Data Economics

Tracking behavior online can garner far more data, far more quickly, than traditional methods. This allows companies to see signs of inflation, deflation, employment fluctuations and related patterns sooner, so they can adjust business plans accordingly.

For instance, a study begun in 2009 used Google searches to predict home sales and prices three months into the future. The study results have held up over time: they forecast future sales 24 percent more accurately than experts from the National Association of Realtors.

And industry experts have contended that had raw streams of financial data been properly analyzed and applied, strong clues could have been provided on hidden risk factors like Lehman Brothers and American International Group, the institutions that triggered the fall 2008 global financial crisis.

Hiring Big Data Talent

Used to its fullest potential, Big Data could improve everything from corporate profits to public policy, from urban crime reduction to predicting TV viewership, flu severity, search engine trends and Federal Reserve activity. Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing 2012 report predicts that “Big Data will deliver transformational benefits to enterprises within two to five years, and by 2015 will enable enterprises adopting this technology to outperform competitors by 20 percent in every available financial metric.”

To gain this 20 percent advantage, you need to hire intelligently. This means finding the talent to drive Big Data success because, as noted by Eric Bradlow, co-director of the Wharton Business School Customer Analytics Initiative, “Data will not answer questions by themselves.”

  • Higher education is beginning to respond. An increasing number of schools now offer various degree programs related to data analysis. Put this on your campus recruitment radar screen.
  • Look for this Big Data skillset: data writing, mining and visualization; behavior modeling and statistics; database management; Hadoop, and visual presentation proficiency.
  • But the credentials don’t end there. Successful candidates also have a natural integration of science and communication skills. And, they must be capable of blending often disparate data, integrating their analyses into the business environment, and translating and creatively presenting data, often to senior corporate leadership.

As you develop your Big Data hiring strategy, start by assessing your specific business needs. Evaluate your current talent and plan to grow your team or augment your resources from there. Then, consider working with a recruitment partner with expertise and experience in data analytics and related industry trends. For more information, read our related posts or contact the team at Select Group, Inc., today.

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