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‘Everyone should understand analytics’, says Facebook exec

The analytics chief at one of the world’s biggest websites and generators of personal data has said it is important that everyone in an organization understands analytics and how to gain business value from their information.

Ken Rudin, head of analytics at Facebook, stated in a keynote address at this week’s Strata + Hadoop 2013 conference in New York that one of the biggest issues with big data analytics at the moment is that people believe that simply analyzing information will be enough to gain insight, PC World reports.

He noted that instead of coming up with brilliant answers to questions that no-one cares about, the true skill lies in knowing what the right questions are to begin with. Therefore, it is vital that companies employ personnel with a thorough understanding of the business impact of big data and not just the technical knowledge.

As well as attempting to train “everyone on analytics”, Mr Rudin said this is an approach that needs to be emphasized in a firm’s hiring practices.

You can find a video or Mr. Rudin’s short keynote presentation at the Strata + Hadoop World conference on the Event YouTube Website.

Strata + Hadoop World Conference link to videos

Mr. Rudin continued:

“When you interview [candidates], don’t focus just on ‘how do we calculate this metric’,” Rudin said. Instead, he recommended giving them a business case study and asking what would be the most important metrics to look at, he added.

As well as this, it will be important for professionals to recognize what technologies will be best suited to help them with meeting a specific goal.

Hadoop may have become synonymous with the big data trend in recent months, Mr Rudin said, but it should be remembered that this is not a complete solution in itself.

“The problem is that Hadoop is a technology and big data isn’t about technology. Big data is about business needs,” he explained. “In reality, big data should include Hadoop and relational [databases] and any other technology that is suitable for the task at hand.”

Strata + Hadoop World is taking place from October 28th to 30th in New York and will see a number of big data vendors offering their expertise. This includes Kognitio, which is a sponsor of the event and the host of a talk by chief innovation officer at the firm Paul Groom.