Big Data Primer

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Jeffrey Alexander, Mike Blackburn, J. David Legan
Digital Innovation, Managing Innovation and R&D
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The Big Data project is one focus area of the IRI study “Digitalization and its Implications for R&D Management. This project was kicked off in early 2015 and will be completed in October 2016. This document is the first deliverable in the project, providing an introduction to the topic and a framework for understanding its relevance to IRI members.

Big Data is a term that is widely used, often described but with no common agreed definition. In the early phases of the Digitalization Project ideation phase there was broad input from the IRI members to elicit areas of interest. There was a wide range of questions uncovered and it was clear that the IRI membership had a huge spectrum of understanding of and involvement with Big Data in their operations. These extend from large research programs and groups focused on Big Data to those trying to understand what Big Data is and whether they should be concerned.

There is a great deal of published information available on the technical developments in Big Data creation, acquisition, storage and analysis. Another set of literature looks at the operational impact of Big Data on companies, primarily in customer-facing functions such as marketing and customer service. Publications on the impact of Big Data on the R&D activities, to the extent that they exist, generally come from government research institutions and academia.

The objective of this document is to help IRI members understand the concepts encompassed in the term “Big Data,” to see how Big Data is already having an impact on organizations, and to establish the framework for the next phases of this project.

Download the Big Data Primer (IRI Members only)