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Big Data and the Lost Ark

I am a movie addict. A Jedi Trekker with double zeros on my ID, who fights against angry birds (not Angry Birds) at Bodega Bay. That’s why the Big Data boom reminds me of the last scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Remember the scene? A government official tells Indiana Jones about the powerful Lost Ark he’s brought back: “We have top men working on it right now.” We then see the Ark being sealed in a crate marked “TOP SECRET, DO NOT OPEN,” and taken to a massive warehouse filled in with thousands of similar crates.

  Lost Ark

How many “lost arks” locked away in corporate vaults right now have the capability to change the business, if they would only be studied? How many data warehouses are storing data as if they are all equal and looks the same? And how often is the person responsible for storing the data not a business expert who can really understand what the data could do and where it is being stored?

One big financial institution recently told me how proud they are of their Big Data. “We have 2.7 petabytes in our servers!” (One petabyte is 1,000 terabytes). I asked how much profit they already got out of all this data — no answer.

If you’re storing Big Data, that’s just not enough — you need to know what you’re keeping and why. Big Data must facilitate phenomenal experiences for the customer and healthy profits for the bank, creating bullet-proof sustainability. Evaluate all the data you are storing. Maybe you will find the crate with your own Lost Ark — just don’t stand too close when they open the crate!

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