Big data is drastically changing the way corporations interact with information, and more importantly, their customers. But the influx of so much information is a lot to handle, and it can often be difficult for companies to make sense of it all.
This is where firms like Synthos Technologies come in. The company provides software that supports new ways of interacting with information with the goal of getting meaningful intelligence. We recently had an opportunity to speak with Erin-Michael Gill, a fellow ACG member and the EVP and Chief IP Officer at Synthos Technologies.
Erin-Michael leads Synthos Technologies’ intellectual property strategy and protection, and supports strategic enterprise business development and sales.
We asked Erin-Michael about some of the challenges associated with big data, as well as what trends he has been able to recognize during his tenure at Synthos Technologies.
This is what he had to say:
CGCS: Why are enterprises, government agencies and other organizations adopting “big data” initiatives? What are the benefits?
Erin-Michael Gill: I think there are multiple reasons. First, the sheer pace at which the world is creating data is astounding. There are all sorts of statistics that point to that. One of my favorites is that we create more data in 10 minutes than in all of human history leading up to 2003. And enterprises, agencies and other organizations are huge contributors to that growth.
So against that backdrop, it’s not surprising that more and more of them are looking for ways to get better, faster insights from their data. At Synthos Technologies, we help customers get meaningful insights from textual data as well as traditional, numeric data. And our IP allows us to do it very quickly, very accurately, and on a massive scale.
CGCS: What challenges do “big data” initiatives create within the enterprise?
Erin-Michael Gill: In our experience, things like scale, interoperability, speed and accuracy can all hamper the success of big data projects. And, even worse, they can diminish the value of these projects for stakeholders who are perhaps a step or two removed from them. That’s why we built our technologies in such a way that those issues are less of a challenge.
I also think that this idea of “big data” is daunting for a lot of organizations. They either don’t think there’s a way they can possibly get their arms around the data they have, or they don’t believe they “qualify” as an organization with big data needs. So that term, with all its ambiguity and hype, is somewhat of a problem.
CGCS: Is leveraging big data a bigger trend in certain industries? What trends have you been able to recognize during your time at Synthos Technologies?
Erin-Michael Gill: We certainly have seen that industries like finance, or insurance, or retail have been home to some of the earliest adopters of big data technology. In those fields, where a level of statistical or probabilistic analysis is immediately and broadly useful, there has been more rapid adoption; whereas industries like healthcare or medical records applications, which have greater constraints on accuracy and precision are seeing more customized solutions being rolled out somewhat more slowly.
What we’re seeing now is that those early adopting organizations are dimensionalizing their big data approaches. They’re adding text analytics, like we provide, or looking to improve what they’re already doing with added speed, or breadth or depth, which we provide as well. We’re seeing that new entrants to the space are jumping in at the same point. I liken it to communications – they’re not installing landlines in developing countries, they’re building better mobile networks. The same thing is happening in big data.
CGCS: Why should fellow National Capital Region c-suite executives take notice of ACG? How has being an ACG member benefited you in the past?
Erin-Michael Gill: The networking, the exposure, the market observations – they’ve all been incredible for us. And, in the technology sector in particular, I believe Washington is poised for some real, meaningful growth. We’ve got tremendous talent, a growing tech footprint, subject matter experts across multiple domains, a young workforce that largely came to this part of the country to affect positive change – whether in advocacy or in government – and we’ve weathered the economic downturn better than just about anywhere else in the country.
All these things together signal some important, transformative growth for this region. ACG and its members are facilitators of that growth, and we’re glad to be a part of the community.
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