At this week’s FICO World conference in Miami, Big Data has taken center stage. Our keynote panellist yesterday, Kenneth Cukier, presented a captivating talk on how Big Data will transform our lives. Based on his new book, Cukier, the data editor of The Economist, emphasized that the secret of succeeding with Big Data goes beyond just having access to the data, or even the analytic technology to make sense of it.
Cukier posited that the mindset is the most important thing that differentiates successful companies — the ability to think differently about data, to see its possibilities. He cited numerous examples, including the company Farecast, which used passenger manifests and other travel records to build a system that helped passengers save money on airline tickets by picking the optimal time to buy.
A similar note was sounded in the panel discussion I hosted yesterday on Big Data: From Vision to Value. When the discussion turned to what makes Big Data applications successful, the consensus was that the most important aspect is executive sponsorship. If you don’t have the buy-in and support from the top, you’ll end up simply mucking about in the weeds.
Like so much else about Big Data, this is not new. Back in 1985, FICO published an article on “14 Secrets of Scoring Success.” The first step was “Obtain Management Support.”
I’d like to thank my fellow panellists for an engaging discussion: Mark Luber, VP, Analytics and Data Acquisition, LexisNexis, Risk Solutions; Mark Warren, Director, Decision Science, Barclays; Juan Huerta, Vice President, Advanced Analytics, Global Decision Management, Citibank; and Rod Nelsestuen, CEB TowerGroup.