Devs will lead us to the big data payoff at last

In 2011, McKinsey & Co. published a study trumpeting that “the use of big data will underpin new waves of productivity growth and consumer surplus” and called out five areas ripe for a big data bonanza. In personal location data, for example, McKinsey projected a $600 billion increase in economic surplus for consumers. In health care, $300 billion in additional annual value was waiting for that next Hadoop batch process to run.

Five years later, according to a follow-up McKinsey report, we’re still waiting for the hype to be fulfilled. A big part of the problem, the report intones, is, well, us: “Developing the right business processes and building capabilities, including both data infrastructure and talent” is hard and mostly unrealized. All that work with Hadoop, Spark, Hive, Kafka, and so on has produced less benefit than we thought it would.

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