As more companies get in on the digital transformation within their industries, there’s a learning curb that comes with relying on real-time analytics. The use of data to make business decisions is helping to not only expedite processes but help companies to expand beyond what they’re doing in the here and now. While having access to this data is key, understanding what to do with this information to create insights is even more important. That all starts with grasping big data.
Understanding Big Data
You’re probably asking yourself, what is big data? It refers to the constantly growing terabytes of data that an organization cannot be analyzed using traditional data methods. Big data includes structured and unstructured data, usually raw information that is needed to run analytics and extract insights. This can be more than just a byproduct of technological processes and applications, utilizing a big data platform to its greatest efficiency as an impeccable asset to any size business.
Big data can be made up of structured, unstructured, and even semi-structured data. Unstructured data is constantly growing, often user-generated, such as social media posts and trends. Processing this kind of data requires a different approach than structured data, utilizing specialized tools and techniques through what is very well an open-source. Big data is the byproduct of the information explosion that has come from a digital transformation. This impacts just about every sector from retail and real estate to finance and travel.
Characteristics of Big Data
Big data consists of the five V’s: volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value. Through big data applications, the volume of data that companies have to deal with is growing exponentially. According to some experts, the amount of data that is poured into companies is estimated to double about every 40 months. With this rapid growth comes the need to properly curate this data rapidly, and that’s where the term velocity comes into play. The closer to real-time analytics that a business can get, the better it is in terms of competitive advantage and valuable insights.
Variety refers to the spectrum of sources from which a company can acquire big data, ranging from smartphones to social media buzz. There are new insights in this material, but it has to have some relevance to data quality and customer experience. This can extend to helping build customer profiles through relational data.
Veracity calls into question the accuracy and quality of data, as companies rely on the correlation of data sources to transform information across systems and build hierarchies in their structure through different types of data. Value is the ability to extract insights from data of any capacity. Companies gain value through their ability to profit off those big data insights. They better understand their customer base, leading to more informed decision-making.
Getting the Most of Big Data
A big data solution is useful in every sector of business from a mom-and-pop shop to a multinational corporation. Once organizations have invested time and resources in the infrastructure needed to process big data, they can optimize their resource market, making for better inventory planning. This benefit in turn leads to better asset management and taking those advanced analytics for what these data sets have to offer.
Through a variety of sources, companies can form a data center that provides them with a more intuitive understanding of their customer base, leading to improvements in the customer experience. This in turn leads to better relationships with vendors and suppliers. Those better relationships create consistency in customer interaction, which could lead to shorter order-to-delivery time and better integration across the entire supply chain. Data analysts can then turn that large amount of information into effective strategic planning, allowing for an expedited process that could lead to expedited growth.