Businesses and cities around the world are increasingly relying on sophisticated real-time data analysis to predict future performance and create proactive strategies. A recent article on describes how Big Data analysis is being applied to every aspect of operations and outreach in visionary terms, although the reality may not stack up completely.

Social media and unstructured data still vary widely and often are incomplete. The key is to know where to look within the data. By monitoring your social media platforms and making use of standard analytic tools, you may be able to quickly identify an unsatisfied customer, which is great for being able to reach out and fix individual problems as they occur.

However, noticing trends is still very difficult for many organizations and cities. It’s not as much on issue of difficulty or complexity as it is the fact that many times the data is simply not there.

So where does that leave you in terms of being able to extract value from the massive volume of data being generated? As always, the key is to know where to look within the data. It’s important to know what data exists and what keywords might be embedded within that data.

For example, you can make a general query: “What are people saying about my product?” But once you have isolated that set of data, you still need to drill inside to get usable information.

The situation isn’t the Catch-22 that it appears to be – there are some ways to get help. For example, you can do some sentiment analysis to evaluate whether customers are generally happy about your product. You can also look for influences that may talk a lot about specific topics.

If you don’t know what you are looking for, you can start with some keywords and try to use evolving topics to learn about what people are focusing on. Perhaps there is a specific version or color of the product that won’t become apparent until you do some real digging within your analysis.

Either way, you’ll be a step ahead of the game by enlisting the help of an expert who can determine your data analysis needs and create customized technology solutions for achieving them.


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