According to data analytics company SAS, big data is a term used to describe large volumes of data, whether structured or unstructured, that businesses deal with on a daily basis. Big data can be broken down into the three Vs:
- Volume: businesses collect data from various sources and with increasing use of the internet and social platforms, there is more data available than ever.
- Velocity: locating data can be now easily and rapidly done but it is expected to be dealt with in a timely manner.
- Variety: data can come in several formats from structured data in the form of numerical data to unstructured data in the form of emails and financial transactions which can impact the complexity of data for a firm.
With this being said, firms are expected to link, match, cleanse and enrich their data to share throughout the organisation. But increasing volumes, velocities and varieties of data mean that data can quickly become complex and control of data is lost. Organisations need to create a system which help them collect, store and analyse data in order to benefit fully from the advantages that big data brings.
Before firms look to see how big data impacts their business, it is important to note where data comes from. There are three categories:
- Streaming data: this refers to data that reaches your IT systems from connected devices in which you are able to analyse almost immediately to determine whether it should be kept, discarded or put aside for further analysis.
- Social media data: social platforms are providing more and more information and as it tends to come in unstructured forms, it can be difficult for firms to analyse.
- Publicly available sources: data is available through open data sources such as portals that belong to the government and these tend to come in structured forms.
Statistics report that only a small percentage of data is actually analysed meaning that data that is collected and stored remains useless. Having too much data is not necessarily a bad thing but it is how this data is managed and handled which is most important. Taking raw data from any source and analysing it will reduce costs related to data, optimise time spent on business decisions and enable better product development to suit customer preferences and needs.
When big data is analysed, it has the ability to provide insights which will enhance business decisions as better informed decisions come from the confidence of using knowledge which comes from data.
Use of data analytic tools with big data can enhance how businesses perceive and use their data allowing for tasks such as determining problems with data, detecting fraudulent behaviour ahead of time and understanding consumer behaviour to be easily done. Firms can consider different types of ways to manage and handle their data such as processors, open source data platforms and cloud services to help them get to grips with their data.
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