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Massive Amounts of Bad Data Can Lead to Massively Wrong Insights and Decisions

Geoff Roach, Vice President of Operations, Loqate
Geoff Roach, Vice President of Operations, Loqate

Geoff Roach, Vice President of Operations, Loqate

What significant changes did Big Data segment witness in 2013? What did these changes mean to vendors and customers?

The changes in Big Data came not from technology innovation but from the maturing of technology pieces into more cohesive sets of technology. Instead of getting a pile of Big Data lumber, a hammer, and some Big Data nails, we are beginning to see larger pieces of solutions being provided. Rather than getting pieces to put together ourselves, we are getting larger components that come pre-assembled to work together. That helps reduce the time and skill level needed for implementation and makes the technology available to a wider number of people. 

What are some of the changes you had anticipated would happen in 2013 but did not happen?

I expected more real case studies and examples of how business changed because of Big Data. The wins are starting to arrive. It could be interesting and fun to examine some of the failures. What did people try that did not work and why didn't it work. I sometimes learn more from the flops than the successes. We need to understand what makes a difference. We are just beginning to learn that. 

Can you paint us the picture of how the landscape for this industry segment will change in 2014? What are some of the broader trends you are closely watching?

People are still enamored with the technology and not concerned about the data part of Big Data. It's called Big Data and not Big Technology. People need to focus on the data. Those who expect that they can just take an analytics tool, throw it at a pile of data, and hope that a world-changing insight will pop out will be disappointed. A friend once said to me, "A fool with a tool is still a fool." Only having a tool box won't make us any smarter. We need to move away from the focus on the technology and gain insight into what data we have. Tools alone won't provide that insight. In 2014 people will start to make the shift. 

How would customer spend change in 2014 for Big Data segment? What makes you think customers will be buying more/ less?

People will start worrying about the quality of the data that they collect and analyze. How data is created and handled before it enters the world of big data makes a huge difference in the uses and analytics that show up later. Massive amounts of bad data can lead to massively wrong insights and decisions. The spend may shift from infrastructure to applications as we find the need for better tools to deal with the range of data issues. 

What's in store for your company in 2014?     

Loqate is continuing to build out its international address verification and geocoding technology. Integrating that technology into applications and systems will become more widespread. The depth and quality of what we do should increase dramatically. Organizations are adopting our technology in areas that are new and exciting.

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