Making the most of what you’ve got!
The bigger the better, right? That’s certainly true of the homes we build, Christmas pressies under the tree, and profit figures on our balance sheets. But is Big Data good data? It’s not enough just have access to all this data; we need the know-how to capture and harness the true value and insights contained within it.
What is Big Data?
Big Data basically refers to data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate to deal with them. Let’s think about this for a second on the business level: all the data sent and received via the devices you use everyday, your mobile phone, GPS, social media posts, online shopping, internet searches, home security systems, automated appliances… Add industry, business, healthcare, and government into the mix as well and, as a global community, we are generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. And what’s more – 90% of the data in the world today has only been created in the last two years. That’s BIG, for sure!
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
The reality is that, at worst, we’re drowning in data, and at best we’re only leveraging compartmentalized subsets of data that either we, or our current applications, can cope with. Vanson Bourne research found that 97% of businesses they surveyed complained of being overwhelmed by data, with 73% facing “big data paralysis”. What’s needed? Business intelligence (BI) and analytics to turn this data into pointed and meaningful knowledge, and perhaps even more importantly going forward, next-generation IT statisticians with the know-how to deliver those BI solutions.
Why should we care?
Ever heard the saying “knowledge is power”? That’s it in a nutshell; BI and analytics transforms the reams of data we have sitting across multiple data stores into pointed and actionable knowledge. In fact, Gartner currently ranks BI and analytics as one of its top priorities for businesses in Australian/New Zealand today. The possibilities are endless, but, at the very least, effective and quality BI will:
1) Revolutionise and refine decision making: Access, mine and pluck data that’s sitting dormant across different silos in your organization to get more accurate and cross-referenced insights into big business questions;
2) Get a 360-dgree view of customers: Integrate both external and internal sources of data to get a fully rounded customer profile. Imagine, for example, combining past purchase data with time of purchase, location, the customers online purchasing and browsing habits.
3) Operations analysis: Where can we target more energy? Combine operations data and statistics with customer experience metrics, service and transaction histories and browsing behaviors to really optimize revenue.
Big Data – Big Questions!
- What data do we already have that we cannot effectively harness, utilize or manipulate?
- Can the existing IT infrastructure actually adapt to the increasing influx and demand for data and the information it contains?
- Do we have the human talent to be able to maximize the opportunities that BI-driven insights will present?
These are the big questions both IT and business managers need to be jointly asking themselves right now. Harnessing the potential to transform data into information and information into insight is what’s at the core of the analytics revolution. Bigger your organization’s opportunities today by thinking big data.