Invited talk by Craig Saunders. Royal Holloway, University of London, UK 10th of March 2014.
Abstract: There is no denying the fact that terms like Analytics and Big Data are being used everywhere: in business, research and even mainstream media. One can follow many discussions on what these terms mean, where on the hype curve we currently are, whether or not there is a really need for new technologies and research for Big Data --- the list of debates is practically endless. The bottom line is that we are producing, storing and have access to, more and more data. When you couple this with increasingly advanced technological enablers to use that data in a myriad of ways, and a tech-savvy world of corporations and end-users that not only demand but expect services that can only be delivered by mining and using such data, you end up with a highly competitive business space of commercial leaders who are already capturing the still maturing analytics business market, and also a range of possibilities and opportunities that are not yet completely understood. This is where we are today, but what are the real implications of this for companies operating in this space, or indeed individuals on the ground with specific skills and expertise? A cursory look at the many reports may suggest the answer is simple: data scientists can unlock hidden secrets and give you access to this exciting new world. This is certainly a part of the puzzle, but unsurprisingly the reality is much more complex. In this talk I will discuss some of the challenges faced by corporations in navigating the Analytics and Big Data oceans, illustrate this with some examples of how Xerox is using novel analytics research to provide innovative services, and give a perspective on what all this means for today and tomorrow. What are the big challenges? What are the trends? Where is expertise most needed? And what does that mean for those of us who work in the analytics and big data world?