What do you see as the main benefit of Big Data?

Providing companies with an ability to predict the future, learn from the past and to ultimately stay in business.

Can you explain how Big Data can be used to increase business value?

In order to truly make the best decisions in your business and stay ahead of the competition, you need to gain access to very high-quality, meaningful and accurate visualisations of your data.

This requires expertise.  Data science expertise from the ground up.  The APMG Enterprise Big Data Professional is a great start to helping your employees appreciate the role and importance of data science within a Big Data context.

By ensuring that your employed data science talent can select the best available data, clean it up and visualise it in a way that is compelling and engaging, means that leaders can make better decisions.  Decisions that will help gain a competitive edge and help companies stay at the top of their game.

It’s not an exaggeration to think of data, as the new oil.

Tesla is a great example of an innovative business using data.  From legalising self-driving cars, through to providing battery and motor performance updates through the delivery of new software updates.

I believe Tesla are at least 3-5 years ahead of the nearest competitor, all because of their ability to harness the value of Big Data.

“Digital transformation can be very large and complex, and there are many aspects of Big Data that will need to be addressed.” 

What would your advice be for any company that wants to start with Big Data?

Start small and build up over time, using Agile software development principles.  I’d recommend using the Scaled Agile Framework for medium to large enterprise.

It’s very important to ensure that training and coaching is effectively employed to get the best from your people.  Allow your talent to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, but do so in a way that means it is not fatal to the them or the business.

This means learning fast and supporting them every inch of the way.  Use the concept of limited blast radius by releasing your Big Data related initiatives across small groups of your users and build up over time.

That way it’s easier to iron out the kinks early in the process and gain crucial client feedback around what works and what doesn’t.  It’s a bit like a stand-up comedian on the stage, he only really knows if his jokes work, when the audience laughs.

“Allow your talent to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, but do so in a way that means it is not fatal to the them or the business.” 

What is the importance of Big Data with regards to Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation can be very large and complex, and there are many aspects of Big Data that will need to be addressed.

I think the most fundamental tenant of a digital transformation is to measure quality.

Consider measuring employee engagement, talent attraction and retention, time to value, employee collaboration, responsiveness to change, client satisfaction, in addition to the traditional revenue, profit and ROI measures.

How do you see Big Data developing towards the future?

Big data techniques are being used everywhere.  Here are some awesome use cases:

Suncorp are using big data, to provide improved levels of cover for clients, often at lower price points, and minimising the number of questions that need to be asked at quotation time.  I experienced this recently, when insuring my new Tesla Model 3.

SpaceX are using big data, to automate their re-usable rocket technology.  This contributes to a significantly lower price point per launch and helps reduce delays between launches.

Why should anyone get trained and accredited in Big Data?

Everyone that works in an organisation is dealing with data.  If we can work towards training and accrediting everyone, we empower our people with a range of skills that will serve their employers, their families and their communities.

From statistical analysis, to pattern matching, to knowing how to clean up data through to visualisation techniques.  Training everyone means their skills can be applied personally and professionally, meaning they become habits.  Habits form behaviour and contributes to great culture.  Everyone wins.

About the Expert – Paul Colmer

Paul Colmer is an engaging digital architect, coach and trainer working for ALC Education and Consulting.  He is an adept and compelling award winning open-mic comedian, an accomplished jazz pianist, and absolutely loves empowering people through stories, anecdotes and humour.

You can check out his Enterprise Big Data Professional course here:

And you have access to lots of free training resources on his blog site here: