How Google BigQuery and Big Data gives us all the chance to win gold

By: Anne-Laure McLeman
Tag(s): Data
Published: Jun 24, 2013
How Google BigQuery and Big Data gives us all the chance to win gold

Earlier this month, we spent a day at the 5th Big Data Insight Group Forum, which was sponsored by Google in partnership with Ancoris. The event provided an opportunity to share experiences and insights with colleagues from more than 150 organisations. What most struck us from the event is just how much data is now available that could inform our decisions – and how it's often just a small fraction of that data that gives us the key insights.

As one of the speakers, Scott Drawer, UK Sport's head of research and innovation, commented in his presentation: in sport, "Performances typically move on less than 1% – that is what will make the difference." Scott talked about how the coaches working with the British cycling team are analysing not only vast quantities of data generated with each turn of the pedal during every single training session and race, but also looking at softer data such as what athletes are saying on Facebook and Twitter to gauge how their mood affects performance.

While UK Sport has a clear view of the kind of data it needs to analyse, the headache for many businesses lies in figuring out which pieces of the wealth of data available to them are the 1% that will have a significant impact on their bottom line – and how to build an ROI to justify the cost of looking for that and analysing it. That's where Google and Ancoris come in: with Google BigQuery, you can quickly start searching for business insights from massive amounts of data without any upfront hardware or software investments. You can even dip a toe in the Big Data water for free if you're querying less than 100GB of data per month.

That means companies of all sizes can pilot the Big Data approach without needing to invest a lot of money up front, identify where best to focus their efforts, and build a strong business case for using Big Data more extensively. And if one thing was clear from this month's event, it was that – just like the British cycling team – businesses that make effective use of Big Data will be winners.

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