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The Trail of Digital Exhaust

Short Takes...on Analytics

Posted by JR Reagan, Principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP

Do you ever wonder about the trail of digital information you are leaving behind every time you go online – your “digital exhaust”? This social data is powerful, not only from an individual perspective but from a big business one. More and more, I find myself in conversations with clients around the importance, power and challenges of this digital exhaust. We know that data from media and advertising can tell us how long people view content, how often they visit and what they seek. But, add that layer of social data and all of a sudden, we know who is in a person’s network, what they and their friends like and even stock market movements. That can be powerful, even on the smallest scale, for companies trying to be more efficient, effective and revenue-producing.

This so-called “big data” information tsunami allows companies to predict the likelihood, adjust supply chains and shape consumer behavior. Emails, voicemails, pictures, video files and more – there is data in there. The statistics say it all. Digital information is doubling virtually every 1.2 years and will likely exceed 1,000 exabytes (1 exabyte = 1,000 petabytes)* next year alone. So, what to do about it? Where do you start? Do you need someone to lead the charge? How can you capture that digital exhaust?

*Reference: MIT Center for Digital Research

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