Data isn’t sexy. Placed next to Instagram, Pinterest, or the latest social media property, a table of raw data just isn’t going to garner much notice. But just because data isn’t shiny doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve our attention — and in fact I think it’s been left out of far too many conversations lately.
Why Big Data Is Awesome
If the internet is the engine of our digital world, data is the fuel that powers it. We wouldn’t have any of those cool social media tools without massive amounts of data flowing quickly and efficiently around the globe. These massive amounts of data continue to accumulate at such an exponential rate that we’ve now coined the term ‘Big Data’ to describe the innovations surrounding the possible uses of this unprecedented amount of information. Big data, combined with other recent technologies such as cloud computing, is already leading to remarkably transformative changes in all types of industries:
Big data is having an impact on many industries, and higher education is no exception…
Why Big Data Is Awesome For Higher Education
Why is data important to people working in higher education? Among other things, big data:
Why Big Data Is Awesome For Higher Education Websites
But what about websites in particular? Let’s take a minute to imagine what the typical college website contains — and then dream about what is possible with a website connected to and leveraging big data.
Without big data, we have static images and infographics to highlight statistics. With big data we can allow users to interact directly with our data through a tool such as Google Charts.
Without big data, we can embed Google Maps of our campus in our site. With big data, we can allow our users to dive deep into demographics — for example, using tools such as Polymaps to show alumni population density in real time.
Without big data, you can have a cool geolocation-based orientation game for tours. With big data, you could provide visitors an augmented reality campus tour using Google Glass.
With your default google analytics data you can generate useful reports, but imagine what is possible when you start to leverage big data practices to produce multi-channel conversion funnels.
Without big data, your alumni database is an island. With new tools such as EverTrue, you can begin connecting your system to the big data powering LinkedIn.
Without big data, you can showcase campaign progress through traditional profiles and videos. With crowd-funding tools powered by big data, such as Kickstarter, you can highlight progress in real-time.
Why Big Data Will Be Hard For Higher Education
What are the challenges standing in between today’s reality and tomorrow’s utopia?
1. Lack of good data: You can’t have big data if you don’t have good data. Good data involves:
2. Shortage of good talent: You can’t have big data if you don’t know what to do with it. This will require:
3. Lack of infrastructure: You can’t have big data if your systems don’t work with it. We need:
4. Lack of awareness: You can’t have big data if you don’t know why it’s worth having.
The challenge and opportunity for all higher education sites is to utilize big data to its fullest potential. Even the most beautiful, intuitive, and compelling sites stand to benefit from big data innovations in the years to come.