Big Data – learning from the experts in Silicon Valley

For quite some time big data was mainly about number crunching and analytics. However, if a company really wants to turn this number crunching into value, managers should adapt their organisation and develop enablers that facilitate a company to become more data-driven. “Managers need a better understanding of the possibilities and limitations of big data. Therefore, we need to bridge the gap between data and business. That is exactly the idea behind our Executive Master Class in Creating business value with big data,” says Programme Director and Professor Philippe Baecke.

In search of answers to questions on how to drive your business with big data our 15 participants went on a 5-day study trip to Silicon Valley. Not only did they visit big, incumbent companies such as IBM and Hewlett Packard, but also innovative tech companies such as Cloudera and Netflix, and smaller start-ups such as Datameer and Blueshift. Although the objectives of these companies are all different, there is one common denominator. They make use of big data analytics in an innovative and intensive way to reach their goals. Either to the benefit of their own internal management or to enhance the offering of their products and services.

According to Pieter Dyserinck, Project Manager Operational Excellence at ING Belgium, the trip was a real eye-opener for anyone that aims to get the most out of analytics within his company: “The company visits made the more theoretical sessions of the first modules of the master class very tangible. We got to see concrete illustrations of the different phases in a big data project: from data gathering to data modelling, from data visualisation and analytics to operationalising your results and creating real value for the company. When visiting the start-up companies I really felt the enthusiasm and their willingness to get things done. They are very much result driven and their corporate culture is built on freedom and responsibility. In all it was a very inspiring journey that convinced me even more that analytics is core for every company that wants to get the most out of its assets.”

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