Big data refers to data that is too large, complex or varied to be processed and managed by conventional forms of technology. But when harnessed, big data provides unmatched insights and greatly helps a business prepare itself for future trends.
How BIG is big data?
The digital universe is estimated to see a 50-fold data increase in the 2010-2020 decade. 90% of Fortune 500 companies already have big data management initiatives in place. The data management and analytics industry is close to the 220 billion dollars mark. In every respect, big data is bigger than you can imagine.
The 4 Vs of Big Data
It is estimated that, on an average, 2.3 trillion gigabytes of data is generated every day. Forget analyzing, simply capturing such quantities of data is impractical. Most companies in the US have at least 100,000 gigabytes of data stored; and almost all of them will tell you that they aren’t collecting enough data.
The right approach is to fight the urge of making your company’s server a data dump. Efforts must be made to employ the right software to filter the relevant data.
Along with quantity, the diversity of data is equally important. The variety in data can be in terms of the devices or the sources of data generation.
Mobile phones, tablets, fitness trackers etc. are all excellent data points. And now, wearable devices are joining the list.
In terms of sources, social media is the runaway leader. Facebook and Twitter alone are generating more data per day than any other communication tools.
Have you ever noticed the number of sensors in your car? You may be able to recall the usual fuel pressure, battery health etc., but a regular car has more than 100 sensors. Close integration and information sharing facilitates smooth functioning of your car. Big data should play a similar role for your business.
Data streaming should be supplemented with analysis and review. In other words, data should be broken down into useable information – both individually and as correlation with other data.
Not all data is good. In fact, unfiltered data is more likely to be bad than good. Although data quality and usability depends largely on the source, you can never rule out junk.
This unreliability of data makes many business heads reluctant to rely on information analysis. That’s the wrong approach. No business tool is failure proof. Instead of discarding the unmatched potential of big data companies should work harder on implementing the right technology and people for its management.
Future of Big Data
Technologies, data points, and population – all three are on an upward curve. Job markets are already pitching a shortage of data managers and analysts in the near future. ‘Big Data’ has become a regular feature and is among the top searched phrases on all prominent search engines. In summary, big data is growing (and will continue to grow), at a phenomenal pace.
Modern businesses need to acknowledge this data tsunami. It might seem overwhelming at first, but with the right tools and people, you can ride the wave and take your company to new heights.
- IDC Digital University Study, sponsored by EMC, December 2012.
- ‘Billions and billions, big data becomes a big deal’ Deloitte, Technology, Media & Telecommunications predictions 2012.