What Everyone Ought to Know About Big Data
Advances in computing and technology are opening up new opportunities everyday. Statistics and data are important factors in understanding and adapting businesses to remain competitive and profitable. Big data is one of the latest innovations in this sector.
What is Big Data?
Big data can be defined as data that is too large for standard database management tools to store and analyze. This kind of data is hugely varied and loosely structured.
With the rise of ecommerce, social media sites and Smartphone usage, there is more data than ever before. Each day around 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data is created. To put that into perspective; if each byte was a bucket of water, it would take just 20 weeks to fill the Earth’s oceans completely.
Companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, are processing terabytes (or often petabytes) of data every single day. This amount of data requires scalable and reliable network architecture to meet the ever increasing demand.
It isn’t just the quantity, but the fast moving pace of all these data streams, which poses a big challenge.
So how do we take advantage of big data?
Making smarter decisions
Data needs to be collected as soon as possible. Ideally in real time if at all possible. The key point is that only relevant data should be captured. The data that is stored needs to analyzed and acted upon in a timely manner to be useful.
There is simply too much data out there. So even if you could capture most or all of it, you won’t have enough time to analyze all of it. Identifying which subset of data is important, can be difficult. Mistakes at this stage can be very costly. Surveys have shown that over 60% of companies don’t even understand how much damage poor quality data is costing them.
Most businesses understand the need for using big data efficiently. 97% of executives have said their organizations have to change in the next couple of years to optimize information usage. The companies, who invest in architecture and training, will be the ones who will survive and profit from these advancements.
Amazon is perhaps one of the earliest success stories, to applying these principals. They are the biggest player in online retail and got to this position by focusing on business analytics. They ignored short term profits by heavily investing in infrastructure to support the data they needed to become the dominant force in the market.
The insight gained from big data, will play a significant role in short-term and long-term decision making.
Spotting future trends
Another benefit of big data is the vast amounts of data can help make surprisingly accurate predictions about future trends in an industry. There are many insights that could be gained, such as:
Seeing changes in customer attitudes and behaviour.
Learning how to adjust for advances made by competitors.
Finding new ideas that have yet to be fully realized.
Big data truly is a game changer, and the companies who fail to adapt and keep up, won’t be around for too long.