The rise of big data is an exciting — if in some cases scary — development for business. Together with the complementary technology forces of social, mobile, the cloud, and unified communications, big data brings countless new opportunities for learning about customers and their wants and needs. It also brings the potential for disruption, and realignment. Organizations that truly embrace big data can create new opportunities for strategic differentiation in this era of engagement. Those that don't fully engage, or that misunderstand the opportunities, can lose out.