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Big Data: How Companies Transform Challenges into Business Opportunities

It's clear that Big Data has gone mainstream

Did you know that ninety percent of the data in the world has been created in the last two years? Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion (or 2.518) bytes of data, according to IBM.

As corporations across all industries globally are struggling with how to retain, aggregate and analyze this mounting volume of what the industry refers to as Big Data, it also provides a unique opportunity for innovative startups that recognize the business prospects Big Data presents. Big Data is not just unlocking new information but new sources of economic and business value.

Interactivity is driving Big Data, with people and machines both consuming and creating it. Digital companies focused on becoming good at aggregating and analyzing the data created by the end users of their product, who then provide their customers with solid insights taken from that data are at a distinct competitive advantage over others in the marketplace.

The information overload of Big Data presents two distinct challenges. The first is the old "needle in the haystack" problem of uncovering the information you need among the massive amounts of data you have collected. The second is making use of the information once you discover it by developing ways to find meaning in it. The key to overcoming these challenges is to turn the data into understandable information that can be analyzed and made into knowledge that can serve as the wisdom that allows people to make better decisions.

Forward-thinking companies are turning Big Data challenges into business opportunities by helping to find and collect information to improve the quality in decisions, segment audiences and embed data into products to create new opportunities - but what's next? With all of the data out there it's clear that more innovation is needed to make sense of it all.

The next wave of opportunities is more focused around how to assess the quality and impact of the data. Take privacy, for example. Companies need to control who needs or has a right to know the data and ensure the proper protections are in place. There is also the question of rights management and who actually owns the data - the source, the company, the customer? It all begs the question of data integrity as well. Once you collect and uncover the data, how can you ensure it is accurate? Last is the question of relevance and determining what data is really worth knowing and how to filter out the noise.

It is clear that Big Data has gone mainstream and there are countless ways for those who understand the challenges it brings to seize the opportunities. We have entered into the industrial revolution of data, and entrepreneurs ready to be at the forefront must act today or risk being left behind.

More Stories By Larry Bettino

Larry Bettino has 19 years of private equity and venture capital investment experience. He is currently a Partner at StarVest Partners, a New York - based venture capital firm focused on technology-enabled business services that take advantage of next-generation internet and information technologies. He was a Partner and Managing Director of Warburg Pincus, joining the firm in September 2001 to lead the firm's investment activities in telecommunications and information technology, and a member of the firm's executive management group.

Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, he was a founding partner at Baker Capital. From 1989 to 1996 he was a partner with Dillon Read Venture Capital where he focused on technologyand data communications investments. An experienced engineer, he held a series of technical and management positions at IBM. He received his B.S. (1982) in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School (1989).

Mr. Bettino has been a member of the Board of Directors of several public and private companies: Accept Software (on-demand product innovation and management software), IRON Solutions (Data-as-a-Service provider: The largest farm equipment transaction information database), Accept Software (a solution for Innovation Process Management), Transactis (a leading provider of electronic bill presentment and payment [EBPP] solutions), LSSiCorp. (the leading provider of international directory database services); MACH SA (based in Luxemburg - the global leader of mobile telephony data services); and Telcordia Technologies (the world's largest provider of Operational Support Software to tier-one communications carriers and one of the largest technology leveraged buyouts of the last several years).

Mr. Bettino is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Citizen's Budget Commission, a non-profit civic organization committed to influencing constructive change in the finances and services of New York State and New York City governments. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Adventis, the global management consulting firm. He lives in Bronxville, NY with his wife and three children.

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