Think Bigger by Mark Van Rijmenam is a compilation of complex data use cases that explain how Big Data is created, collected, stored, cataloged, and used in more than 18 industries today. Through company-specific examples, the book provides real, practical information presented in a conversational style that’s both technical and useful.

For example, Walmart uses software called Social Genome to follow positive online comments posted by customers about products and offers discounts on those products to both customers and their friends. With more than 200 million customers visiting its stores weekly, the company collects terabytes (TB) of new data on a daily basis, tracking all online searches, in-store and online sales, and all related search information. This gets put into a multiple-petabyte (one million gigabytes (GB)) database of information the company stores historically from day one. The book also provides a glossary as a reference for new and confusing terms—a great resource!

Think about Big Data in the context of the U.S. Library of Congress. All the books take up more than 800 linear miles of shelf space. Those 26 million books would be the equivalent of 10TB of data. Online gamers from generate 10TB of data daily. EA Games, a larger online game provider, generates 50TB of data daily. That’s just two examples from one industry!

A terabyte is 1,000GB. Today, the digital universe comprises a yottabyte—one trillion terabytes. Now connect the IoT-sensors that track almost every conceivable type of data. Then think about the need to properly secure, store, sort, classify, share, and make sense of it all.

More than 1.5 million new data manager jobs will be created in the next four years in the United States alone. It’s critical that accounting professionals understand this trend and are able to strategically plan for how to best account for, use, and optimize the use of this data in our internal and external planning, analysis, and reporting. Management accountants need to understand that new reporting is needed to better track and understand customer acquisition cost and lifetime customer value.

Big Data will be part of the future. When planning your career, Think Bigger is a highly recommended resource.


30 billion “things” will be connected to the IoT by 2020.

Source: IDC, Connecting the IoT: The Road to Success, June 2015.

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