pbahra writes: There is no shortage of talk about Big Data and the transformational impact it will have, but one sector of the economy that traditionally hasn’t been a heavy user of technology is hoping it can reap the benefits, too. Charities, nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations — or the third sector — are hopeful that the ability not merely to handle vast datasets, which is one attribute of Big Data, but the combination of disparate datasets, will bring new insights to their work, resulting in greater efficiencies on the ground, and better value for money. For example, using satellite data, weather information, population density and other information allows teams to focus efforts on distributing things like malaria nets or doing indoor residual spraying, or even stepping up education programs in areas likely to be blighted.
pbahra writes: "It seems that the markets are as much in love with “Big Data”—the ability to acquire, process and sort vast quantities of data in real time—as with the technology industry. The first Big Data initial public offering hit the market last week to roaring approval. Splunk Inc., which helps businesses organize and make sense of all the information they gather, soared 109% on its first day of trading. Big Data, big price. However, according to a report published last year by McKinsey, there is a problem. “A significant constraint on realizing value from Big Data will be a shortage of talent, particularly of people with deep expertise in statistics and machine learning, and the managers and analysts who know how to operate companies by using insights from Big Data,” the report said. “We project a need for 1.5 million additional managers and analysts in the United States who can ask the right questions and consume the results of the analysis of Big Data effectively.” What the industry needs is a new type of person: the data scientist."