There is a lot of use of the latest buzz word “Big Data” but how much do people really understand? This article aims to demystify “Big Data” for those who don’t understand the value that it could bring to their company, organisation or charity. 90% of the World’s data has been created in the previous two years and understanding the value that this could bring. Big Data can bring key insight to trends in the market place and provide companies with a wealth of information to help them make more informed decisions.
There are lot of different views on the definition of “Big Data”. The definition of “Big Data” from Gartner is a great place to start – Big data is high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.
The last line above is key, Big Data when analysed and processed can provide enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation. Big Data only turns into actionable information once it has been fused and analysed. The successful fusing and analysation of the data is where the true value lies.
How does it add value?
Business can access a wide range of data that they may already have on clients without knowing. Understanding the trends between different data set will provide you with a higher quality of data to make more informed decisions from. For example, when you link the sales data with your marketing data you can identify trends and see which campaigns are the most effective. If you were to expand this out to other open source data, you can start to build a bigger picture. Is there a trend across your whole market? Can you build a better customer profile with other data available? With more information come more informed decision making and this can only help business.
Key Aspects to consider when looking at Big Data
Volume. Organisations collect data from a variety of sources, including business transactions, social media and information from sensor or machine-to-machine data. In the past, storing it would’ve been a problem. With advances in technology it has become easier to deal with the volume of data. When planning how to process your data it is key that you don’t limit yourself as the amount of data your collecting will only increase, engaging with an experienced database professional who can help guide will be key.
Velocity. Data streams in at an unprecedented speed and must be dealt with in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors and smart metering are driving the need to deal with torrents of data in near-real time. To be able to make informed decisions real time information will be key. Allowing companies to make real time decisions will make organisation more responsive to trends found in the data and help build a clear picture of their current landscape.
Variety. Data comes in all types of formats – from structured, numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, email, video, audio, stock ticker data and financial transactions.
Complexity. Today’s data comes from multiple sources, which makes it difficult to link, match, cleanse and transform data across systems. However, it’s necessary to connect and correlate relationships, hierarchies and multiple data linkages or your data can quickly spiral out of control.