In December 2012 and January of this year, Tata Consultancy Services surveyed 1,217 executives from large companies in a dozen global industries in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. They found that companies with huge investments in Big Data are generating excess returns and gaining competitive advantages, putting companies without significant investments in Big Data at risk. The reason: There’s a big learning curve with Big Data, one that companies such as Netflix and Amazon had to embrace in the 1990s to deal with hundreds of millions of customer clicks.
“Take the jet engine. It has about 20 sensors that capture real-time continuous data — temperature, engine performance, etc. If I can take that data and use it to model a consumer outcome — say, more time on the wing or less fuel burn — that’s worth an awful lot of money to my customers. A 1 percent change in fuel burn for an airline is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”