Newly published report from BSI can help prepare for the future of Big Data

BSI, the business standards company, has published a Big Data research report to establish the role that standards can play in this emerging market. The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that Big Data will benefit the UK economy to the tune of £216 billion by 2017 and result in the creation of 58,000 new jobs.

Organizations have always produced large quantities of data, but the economically-viable ability to store and analyse exponentially growing volumes of data is new, and this is what the term “Big Data” represents. There is very little standardization activity in this area. To address this, external research conducted by Circle Research examined the market for Big Data standards. This included mapping the current Big Data market to identify high potential industries where there is a need for best practice, in addition to qualitative research comprising interviews with industry professionals, academics, government representatives and consumer bodies. The report also features pertinent quotes from organizations contacted for the study.

The report identified a series of challenges for the growth of the Big Data market which also represent an opportunity to develop standardization in this area.

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance & Risk at BSI said: “There are a series of challenges that organizations carrying out Big Data projects are facing. This research has developed a list of areas where there is initial agreement that the UK can take the lead on developing impactful best practice. BSI will work with key stakeholders in the UK and internationally to develop standard to help UK organizations reap the benefits of Big Data.”

Potential areas of standardization:

How to’ guide for Big Data projects. This would include best practice to help formulate projects, determine who should be involved, define the objectives and ensure quality checks are in place.

Meta-data. The importance of meta-data is generally seen to be growing in importance however, many organizations struggle to capture and store meta-data in a usable and consistent format. Furthermore, there is a lack of guidance on areas such as how to ensure meta-data quality and how long it should be stored for. 

Big Data communications.  In recent years there have been cases of Big Data initiatives failing to take-off due to public resistance. Many experts believe the problem lies in a failure to adequately explain to customers/the public the potential societal benefits of using Big Data analytics. Standardization could help to develop best practice for how Big Data initiatives should be explained and communicated to ensure a positive case for Big Data is presented to the public.

Terms and conditions. Building public trust in the use of their data is essential. However, T&Cs are often confusing, ambiguous and wordy. Any organization with  clear and easy to understand T&Cs will be at a competitive advantage. Standards could help by ensuring T&Cs are simple to understand and optimize informed consent prior to data being used in Big Data projects.

The full report is available to download here.