I consider myself fortunate to be in my fifth year, presenting in my seventh breakout session, at Adobe Summit. But I must admit that I’m more excited — in very specific ways — about this breakout than any I’ve presented in the past.

This year, I’m super stoked that I’ll be joined onstage by a fine panel of experts to discuss how you can approach “big data” in a way that ensures you can answer key questions and be able to act on the answers. The approach? Look at big data in small, focused bites, rather than as a comprehensive whole.

Thinking Small: A Panel on Making Big Data Actionable” will include Ashish Braganza, Director of Global Business Intelligence at Lenovo; Jonathan Watts, Director of Analytics and Strategy at Ticketmaster; and Scot Liewehr, President and Principal Analyst at Digital Clarity Group. Together, we have several decades of experience in analysis and optimization based upon various stores of data.

For those who are unable to join us, we’ll spend the hour giving examples and discussing our four key takeaways related to big data:

1) Shape Your Own Future and Define Your Needs. Be very specific and deliberate about the question you want to answer and what you will do with the results (that is, what action you might take). Many analysis programs fail for lack of focus; skipping this step puts your’s at risk of the same fate.

2) Consider “Immediacy.” Understand the timeliness of each of the data streams that is part of your big data universe. Many questions don’t need real-time data, and the investment required to have immediate access to some data points doesn’t justify itself. Focus on the analyses that you can perform and the action you can take, using the “immediacy” of the data available to you.

3) Make it Simple, Smart, Responsive, and Social. Plan, from the outset, how you’ll share and evangelize the results of your analysis — focusing on ways to make it simple, smart, responsive, and social for your business stakeholders.

4) Drive Smarter Testing and Decisions. Ultimately, analysis in any context — big data or small —must drive toward some action in order to be worthwhile. Keep the end in mind as you execute the above steps, and you’ll help ensure that your analysis will not only be valuable, but actionable as well.

These four key takeaways are covered in great detail in the Digital Clarity Group white paper, Thinking Small: Bringing the Power of Big Data to the Masses.

For the breakout, I’ve compiled a list of extra reading and perspectives on big data that can help practitioners get results. I hope you enjoy and find value in some of the following links.

• “What is Big Data?” (YouTube). The Economist asked thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and people on the streets of New York City: What is big data?

• “Forbes CMO Reveals How the Publisher Uses Big Data” (CMO.com). Tom Davis, CMO of Forbes, spoke at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit in New York City in March. His topic of conversation: how the Forbes publisher is using data to better inform and serve audiences, journalists, and marketers.

• “Little Data Matters, Too” (via Booz & Company’s Strategy+Business): encouragement to take the “small data” approach — make big data bite-sized!

• “3 Ways Companies Can Better Use Big Data in 2014” (Reuters): the reality of big data for the enterprise and for marketers, and three quick tips for better using big data this year.

• “BIG Data Equals BIG Headache for Executives” (Forbes): an overview of some of big data’s shortcomings.

• “The Right Stuff: 3 Steps to Turn Big Data Chaos into Customer Experience Gold” (McKinsey & Company): quick tips for getting to action and a great customer experience using big data.

• “Three Reasons You Need a Big Data and Analytics Strategy” (Adobe Digital Marketing blog): help for analyzing whether your organization has the right big data and analytics strategy in place.

Thanks in advance to all those who will be joining us for our “Thinking Small” breakout at Summit — and here’s to putting your vast stores of data to use for you in driving increased testing and optimization, and bottom-line business results.

The volume of business data worldwide is expected to double every 1.2 years.SanDisk LinkedIn

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