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What is Big Data…and Why Does it Matter So Much?

By  Advisory Services Staff Writer Advisory Services Staff Writer  on 2014-01-09 08:00:00  |  Featured in  Financial Services
Advisory Services Staff Writer
Posted By Advisory Services Staff Writer
in Financial Services
on 2014-01-09 08:00:00

By now, you have probably heard the term “big data.” Well, what is big data? What does it mean for information technology firms, businesses, organizations, and enterprises as a whole? Big Data is not a new informational challenge. The significant differences are the business benefits of consuming this information, and the available technology to harness it.

In general, Big Data is the vast amounts of data collected from just about anywhere. Data is no longer something that is only generated internally and stored on computers. Data collection can be accomplished in a variety of channels such as cell phones, GPS signals, social media, digital photos, transaction records, files, email—just about everywhere. Big Data can be stored and lives in all kinds of spaces including enterprise data warehouses, application databases, file systems, mobile devices, and cloud storage platforms.

In short, the term “Big Data” refers to the all types of unstructured and structured data. It is commonly associated with the subsequent tools and processes that let an organization oversee and leverage the data for purposes such as optimizing the ROI of internal marketing campaigns or learning more about their customer’s behaviors. The term “big” has no reference to the size of a file; it just refers to the amount of data and variety, its sources and its ability to accumulate exponentially.

For instance, if a retailer manages the store’s transaction data, information from its mobile application, tidbits from its social media accounts, data from its vendors, and information internally via multiple devices, that creates quite a lot of information—all coming in throughout the day, in droves. The challenge is to identify, capture, and transform all this data into a holistic mosaic of a business entity. Then the retailer will be able to use this vast amount of data to learn more about its business and its customers ultimately making decisions backed by the data to improve ROI and efficiency.

What is Big Data Really? Technically Speaking…

In a recent study, humans create 2.5 quintillion (that’s 18 zeros) bytes of data daily. If there was ever a time when we need to interpret and capitalize on all this data, it is now

There are four components to Big Bata. First, the sheer volume of it, which easily accrues into terabytes and petabytes. Second, velocity is another aspect of big data, because it is relevant to the speed at which I can process and make the information consumable. Third, there are various types of data; it is not originating from one place, and there are different types of files. Finally, there is variety, which is a vital component consisting of all the different types of data.

Big Data in 2013

With the New Year arriving, experts believe Big Data availability will go main stream in 2013. It will also deliver analytical tools to help end-users to leverage Big Data rather than just to information technology professionals. That is, companies will reach out to harness their own Big Data, and make it readily accessible by the business consumers. Some industry folks say tight corporate budgets could make it hard to self-manage. They also believe that more companies will develop and enact plans to manage Big Data for business growth and improvement purposes. The evolution of this data is to “connect” the dots of all the meaning threads.

That is where the data comes from, and the various factors that affect it. What does all this information mean for businesses competing in today’s global marketplace? What can they do with the data that will provide them—and their customers—with long-term benefits?

The Importance of Big Data Usage

Because there is more data out there, managing Big Data is not just about having enough storage for the information. Instead, leveraging the data is how companies can gain a competitive edge.

The intelligence shared via a wide range of devices grows by the second, so organizations that can properly harness and evaluate this data will possess more insights rather than those that simply house the information.

Now that the concept of Big Data is a more common notion and not just a buzzword, an increasing number of firms will take advantage of this information. They can use the information to make business decisions, improve operations, lower corporate risks, and improve customer experiences. More companies will realize that big data is not limited to a certain kind of data, and will integrate all of their data into one platform that can assess the information.

How exactly do you harness Big Data? An organization must deploy predictive and descriptive analytics to find obvious and the nuances of the information. That’s key in finding the value in the data.

These analytical measures include using advanced statistical, data mining and machine learning algorithms that not only separate data, but also find trends and patterns one may not be able to recognize with traditional business intelligence tools. As more firms see the value in big data, they are likely to launch efforts to develop more competitive algorithms that pinpoint the significance of the data.

Timing is key when it comes to big data. That is why models must be able to use data in real-time, so it can be applied up to the minute. The data must be able to be evaluated and applied as it streams in to an enterprise in order to maximize its value.

Do you believe big data can benefit your company in 2013?

 

Advisory Services Staff Writer

Advisory Services Staff Writer

 

One of Paragon's thought leadership staff writers in the Advisory Services Practice

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