Andrew Dietz is Founder and President of Creative Growth Group, Inc., a business development firm that exclusively helps professional service organizations sharpen growth strategies, enhance client development capabilities, and implement marketing and business development initiatives.

Kris Hammond, CTO of Narrative Science, professor of Computer Science and Journalism at Northwestern University and a researcher in the areas of human-machine interaction, context-driven information systems and artificial intelligence and founder of Northwestern University’sIntelligent Information Laboratory (InfoLab), is working with his team to develop technology that bridges the gap between people and the information they need. 

For Kris, “The world of Big Data is actually the world of businesses (and professional services firms) deciding that they want to be evidence-based in their decision-making.

The challenge is how to convert data repositories into usable insights in a scalable and timely way. Kris formed Narrative Science to address this issue.“Our technology looks at large streams of data and it figures out the meaning and the insight that can be found in that data and transforms it into natural lines of communication,” Kris said. “It actually takes the human insight, the human ability to look at data and figure out the patterns, figure out what’s going on, find the correlations, and then translates that into English. We take that ability and we move it onto the machine. Anything that looks like operational data where there’s an insight to be found, we can find that insight and communicate it.”

When it comes to Big Data, Business Intelligence, Competitive and Client Information it bears repeating like a mantra: Information is useless unless its transmuted and communicated as insight. Insight is most useful when it is presented in plain language that drives intelligent, results-oriented action. Whichever firms can do this faster, better and more affordably will emerge as winners. Kris and his InfoLab and Narrative Science initiatives are bringing the automation of those activities to life in a scalable way.Professional services firms leaders would be wise to pay close attention.

This post is part of a series recapping the event, Gaining the Big Data Edge – What Professional Services Firms Need To Know About Big Data and Business Intelligence, hosted by SilverEdge, along with its partners Deltek and Creative Growth Group. Stay tuned for more advice from the event. 

Below are some photos from the event: 

2013 Leigh Loftus, ThinkLeigh Photography,