The start of 2013 caused many tech executives, reporters and bloggers to speculate about the biggest trends of the year. The related buzzwords aren't going away as we reach the second half of 2013. Here's how to separate the hype from the reality. Hype: Does the amount of talk about the need for companies to hire data scientists, deploy new tools or learn how to wrangle big data match up to actual demand? Reality: Companies that understand how to collect, interpret and apply data can improve their marketing initiatives, customer relationships and business practices. However, just because the data scientist career has been moving up the most-desired list, not every company or every industry truly needs a data scientist, so be sure to evaluate carefully. Hype:With the availability of big data comes the advent of personalization, but consumers are wary of Big Brother behavior. Reality: People want more relevant, targeted search results. But, they don't want to feel like they're being tracked. Brands need to focus on relevancy, personalization efforts that benefit consumers, and tracking behaviors versus tracking people. Hype: Facebook's much-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) – and subsequent flop – was the talk of 2012 and spurred much analysis of the IPO market. Reality: The IPO market has drastically changed since the early 2000s. With economic and regulatory shifts, companies take an average of more than 10 years to IPO versus less than five years before the dot-com bubble burst. As this GigaOM article discusses, our economy depends on successful IPOs for job growth, and the slower rate of companies reaching the IPO stage is hindering such growth. Hype:It seems like everyone's in the cloud or plans to be there. Lately, this sentiment has flowed over to the enterprise side. Reality: The reality is that many businesses still do not rely on the cloud, particularly enterprises that house sensitive data on premise. End users care more about the delivery method of solutions rather than actually being in the cloud, so hesitant enterprises can instead create cloud-style architecture to please end users and keep data on site. Hype:Social media appears to be overdone, but many businesses still debate whether they should have a social media presence and if it shows true business value. Reality: Social media is not overdone and it's not finished. Those that engrain social media in daily business practices from marketing to customer service and more are rewarded with leads and platforms with which to engage customers and prospects in real time.
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