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Book Review: Too Big to Ignore by Phil Simon

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Has your local grocery store ever called you with an automated message about food recalls? How did they know you bought the product under recall? That is a two word answer; big data.

Phil Simon takes readers through the world of big data in his new book, Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data. The book is about explaining why big data is a big deal. Individuals at more and more companies and organizations are realizing they too can reap huge benefits from using “today’s new and emerging types of data.”

The author explores many topics in the book including the data deluge, characteristics of big data, techniques for collecting and analyzing big data, getting started, issues and problems associated with big data, security issues, big brother mindsets and many case studies to illustrate his premise.

Some of the statistics Simon gives in the book are just downright astounding. Here are few details that he offers about online videos:

• There are 1 trillion video playbacks on YouTube.
• There are 140 video playbacks on YouTube per person on earth.
• Viewers watch 201.4 billion videos per month.
• 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

Some of the big data about health care spending in the U.S. will amaze readers. In January 2011, spending on health care topped $3 trillion and is expected to increase 7.5 percent in 2013. Health care is just one sector realizing the power and the benefits associated with using big data.

Simon writes, “Over the past three years, they developed a health care Big Data platform that combines real-time collection, secure transport, storage, processing, web services and apps that are now used by some of the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery networks.”

Simon writes that the era of big data is really just beginning and the very concept is “largely consumer driven and consumer oriented.” Some of the reasons for the onslaught of the big data evolution include:

• There is an always-on consumer today.
• Technology costs are plummeting
• A rise in data science (with professionals called data scientists)
• Google and other search engines
• The platform economy
• Social media and other factors

Simon has written about a highly technical topic when considering the different collection and analysis techniques and tools and provides a rather in-depth look at big data in a readable and understandable language. He does use industry jargon but breaks it down into non-industry language.

He also uses a chapter to help those not already using big data in some form to get started on the journey. Simon writes, “Rather than just bolting ahead, it behooves readers to ask themselves if their organizations are really ready to embrace a data-oriented mind-set.”

Like it or not, the world seems to be able to spin on its axis because of the use of data. The data is getting bigger according to this author and many more business writers. The past three or four business-related books I’ve read all include a section or a mention of the use of big data. This book is a good book to read to learn about big data itself. The book will prepare the reader to start looking for ways to implement big-data processes into the standard business processes.

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About pfaulhaber

  • http://www.philsimon.com Phil Simon

    Just a note:

    Simon writes, “Over the past three years, they developed a health care Big Data platform that combines real-time collection, secure transport, storage, processing, web services and apps that are now used by some of the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery networks.”

    “They” refers to Explorys, one of the case studies in the book. The company is an offshoot of the Cleveland Clinic.