Big data is big news

There are some mind-boggling figures in the latest report from the McKinsey Global Institute, Big Data: the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity.  Did you know that more than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every month and that it is possible to store all the world's music on a $600 disk drive?Big data creates value in a number of ways, not least in the way it facilitates the segmentation of audiences and the customisation of products and services to support them.  The report analyses the potential financial value of big data to a number of sectors and identifies those that are positioned for the greatest gains.  Unsuprisingly it is the computer and information sectors that seem set to gain most substantially while the administration of the European public sector could gain an annual value of 250 billion euros per year.The biggest barrier to achieving this value is a shortage of relevant skills, particularly the skills that enable the deep analysis of datasets.  Other factors that need to addressed include privacy issues and the movement of personal data.