Peter Drucker and the Big Data Revolution

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest column for Forbes online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about the growing ability of businesses to harness Big Data.

Although ever more data is being generated by a host of new technologies, Wartzman writes, “this surfeit of information is not simply piling up, like grain in a silo. It is being carefully sifted and sorted so that” organizations can gain all kinds of new insights and create new value for their customers.

Wartzman focuses on a Silicon Valley company called Apigee, which offers tools to tap “the power of mobile apps—the way that increasing numbers of people are choosing to communicate, buy all kinds of things, share and socialize.

“The connection between these apps—often developed by communities of independent, third-party programmers—and a company’s internal, backend IT system is known as an application programming interface, or API,” Wartzman explains. “Apigee specializes in providing API technology to companies such as Walgreens, eBay and AT&T, as well as to outside app developers. It then helps both camps make sense of the reams of data that get generated so that the best products and services can be delivered to end users as quickly as possible.”

Wartzman notes that Peter Drucker believed it was possible to create an “information-based organization” without advanced technology. But Drucker was also clear that as “advanced technology becomes more and more prevalent, we have to engage in analysis and diagnosis . . . even more intensively or risk being swamped by the data we generate.”

Concludes Wartzman: “With Big Data, it seems, we are not only managing to avoid any such trap; businesses are taking what could have been a danger and turning it into a tremendous opportunity.”