The New Wave of Big Data


Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data (both structured and unstructured) that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organisations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves. While the term “big data” is relatively new, the act of gathering and storing large amounts of information for eventual analysis is ages old.

Data is now one of the most lucrative, fastest-growing industries in the world. Companies like Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, have data on customers worth millions of pounds. Smartphones and the internet have made data abundant and far more valuable. As “the internet of things” grows, the volume of data is increasing. Artificial-intelligence techniques such as machine learning allow greater value to be extracted from data.

The concept of big data can be split into three different areas, volume, variety and velocity. Volume relates to the amount of data a company receives. In recent years, it has become a lot easier to store heavy amounts of data. Velocity is all about the speed in which data streams must be dealt with in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors and smart metering are driving the need to deal with torrents of data in near-real time. Variety deals with the different forms of data, from structured, numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, email, video, audio, stock ticker data and financial transactions.

Why is big data important?

It’s not about how much data an organisation has; it’s what an organisation does with the data. Data can be extracted from any source and analyzed to find answers to allow cost reductions, time reductions, new product development and smart decision making. You can combine big data with high powered analytics to solve business related tasks such as determining the root of causes of failures, recalculating entire risk portfolios very quickly, as well as detecting fraudulent behavior.

Big data is vital to businesses because of the processing and analysis, the insights you can gain, as well as the products and services which can emerge from the analysis. By collecting more data, a company has a greater ability to improve its products, which attracts more users, generating even more data, and so on. The current changes in big data technologies and management approaches must be joined with dramatic shifts in how data supports decisions and product/service innovation.