How Big Data Can Benefit Your Business
How Big Data Can Benefit Your Business
How can correct use of big data analysis, management and application bring a competitive edge to modern businesses? In this guide, we’ll take a close look at what big data is and how it’s transforming the way we conduct business in 2019.
What’s Big Data?
Big data is a term that many people find rather ambiguous, and understanding the concept of big data is indeed easier said than done. However, a big data definition launched by Gartner focuses on it as a high-variety, high-volume and high-velocity information asset.
Big data has become an evolving term, now describing large volumes of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data that offers great potential for information mining and to be used in AI or machine learning projects along with other more advanced analytics applications.
Simply put, big data deals with more sophisticated and larger data sets stemming from a variety of sources. This is because these data sets come in huge volumes that conventional data processing solutions just can’t manage efficiently. Armed with the right processing solutions, businesses can locate and identify potential problems that would otherwise be undetectable through traditional methods.
What are the three Vs of Big Data?
As I briefly touched upon, big data is often described by its three Vs – volume, variety and velocity. These refer to the large volume of data being collected, the wide variety of data types available, and the velocity at which said data should be processed by software solutions.
In essential, large volumes of data can come from various sources depending on your industry, such as for example
- Customer databases
- Internet clickstream logs
- Business transaction systems
- Medical records
- Social networks
- Mobile applications
- Real-time data sensors used in IoT environments
When it comes to big data, the amount of data (which is the volume) is crucial.
Nowadays, most businesses must tackle ever-increasing volumes of unstructured low-density data. The volume of big data is typically measured in terabytes, petabytes and exabytes, depending on the size of the organisation or the amount of data you manage. Storing data of this magnitude can be a significant burden for most businesses, regardless of industry. However, recent technology has made managing, analysing and storing big data more convenient.
Let’s briefly move on to what we mean by variety. With the popularity of big data continuously increasing, modern businesses are now dealing with large volumes of semi-structured and unstructured types of data, which all require additional processing before you can derive any real value from it. As different as big data sources can be, it’s also typical that the formats themselves also differ. This can range from structured numeric data types originating from traditional databases; to unstructured documents such as emails, audio data, or financial transactions.
Lastly, velocity refers to the rate at which your big data is received and acted on by using new technology data processing solutions. Typically, data of the highest velocity is streamed directly into memory instead of being written to the disk. These days, new advances in technology has made sure that big data is being streamed at an unprecedented speed.
The Role of Big Data in Today’s Business Landscape
To further complicate things, more Vs have recently been added to the definition. However, in this article, we’ll only take a closer look at the two most relevant ones: veracity and value.
Veracity refers to the degree to which big data can be trusted. For example, uncertain raw data gathered from a variety of sources, such as your web site or your social media platforms, can cause plenty of data quality issues that can be difficult to identify and trace, considering the large volume of data coming in.
Take for instance a company that receives their data from hundreds of sources. Their analyst will be capable of spotting inaccurate data, but that would require lineage information for her to trace where the erroneous data is stored so that the right adjustments can be done. You must also keep in mind that bad data can lead to inaccurate analysis, and that it can potentially undermine the value of the information.
Value, in comparison, refers to the actual value of the data collected. Big Data is, simply speaking, just a huge well of information in various formats from a variety of sources. Obviously, not all data gathered offers real business value – and using inaccurate data can have a serious impact on your business.
This is all fine and dandy, you might say, but what’s the role of big data in today’s business landscape?
Well, big data works on the premise that the more a business knows about a certain area, the better predictions they will be able to make about their industry, marketing trends and their target audience. A recent survey by McKinsey, reveals that correct use of big data can lead to an improvement of sales and marketing decisions by 15-20% ROI. But how?
The ability to collect, process and understand big data will let you quickly identify valuable insight and use them to make smarter decisions for your company. Big data will also aid you in finding new opportunities in the market – and also highlight how your services or products can be better targeted towards your audience.
By being able to process and understand all these vast amounts of data, it’s clear that big data has revolutionised the world of business for basically every industry. Companies worldwide are now jumping ahead of competition by being able to make more accurate predictions and better business decisions.
To conclude, big data is a potential goldmine for all marketing and sales leaders. Those who are able to effectively mine it, will be sure to experience high growth in 2019.
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