Since its mainstage debut last decade, the concept of ‘big data’ – the large-scale collection and analysis of vast amounts of digital information – has changed the face of business, becoming a core pillar of the digital economy. However, it has also become a daunting and inaccessible term to the uninitiated, conjuring images of row-after-row of computer servers, teams of scientists and mathematicians, and complex spreadsheets and line graphs.

But as PwC Chief Data Scientist Matt Kuperholz explains, it needn’t be this way.

In a short video, Kuperholz lifts the lid on what ‘big data’ really means, bringing the topic back down to earth. As he explains, any business can begin to take advantage of big data’s many benefits, with the data itself becoming a new asset or currency that releases considerable value over time.

Kuperholz also explores how any company can be quickly refocused as a data-optimised operation without having to fork out for costly equipment or a complex restructure. Over time, this can result in a lean, analytics-focused organisation that is efficient, profitable and provides a new level of service to customers.

Don’t have time to watch the video? Check out his key statements below.


Why is the term ‘big data’ misleading?

“I think data has always been increasing in its volume, variety, and velocity, and that we’ve been on that curve for some time. However, almost all industries are realising the better use of data can help them do better business.”

How can big data deployment result in a ‘win-win’ scenario for businesses and customers?

“With data and analytics, we can get that mythical ‘win-win’ where you’ve got happier customers and more efficient and profitable companies. Or you’ve got safer and more content employees at the same time as running a business more efficiently. So the knowledge economy is that which seeks to get that ‘win-win’ through analysis of data.”

What is the true value of a company’s data?

“Unlike traditional asset classes, the value of your data relates to the actionable insights you derive from it with analytics. And the same data can be worth more by applying more analytics to it and solving more problems. What happens when you bring this data together? When you federate it and suddenly the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?”

How can businesses leverage their data to solve problems and create value?

“Businesses today need to look at their challenges not as data or analytical problems, but as business problems. They then need to ask: what data do I have and how can this help bring insight? The final step is to get in there and start doing it. No overhauling your systems or building a whole new data warehouse for data mining. Just take the data, spin up an analytics workbench, and get to creating value.”



Matt Kuperholz

Matt Kuperholz is a partner and chief data scientist at PwC Australia.

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