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The 3 Whats of Big Data

Data explosion in the digital era has brought us great challenges and great opportunities. Information is powerful and the current data technology has enabled us to understand more about our world. The growing interest in IT is focus on the analysis of the so-called “Big Data”. But what it is, what it does and what are the challenges?

1.What is it?

Big Data is a set of technologies and methodologies that are used to manage a large set of complex data in order to identify patterns and behaviours to predict prescribe and prevent something. The best way to understand it is through what has been called the three ‘Vs’ of Big Data – volume, variety and velocity.

When we talk about Big Data:

  • Volume – Management, analysis and processing of data volumes exceed the capacity of traditional software. The data size can be terabytes or petabytes, or a huge amount of information included in the analysis was not used because existing technology could not process them.
  • Variety – Unlike data warehouse that usually works with structured information, the Big Data would also include semi-structured or unconstructed information. These can range from information on social networks, mobile signals, audio files, digital images, data forms, emails, survey data and logs etc.
  • Velocity – The Big Data technology needs to keep the pace at which the data flow in the system. The data flows are massive and continuous, and they need to be processed in real-time in order to support business decisions. If you can handle the Big Data velocity, the information from it can provide strategic competitive advantages and ROI (Return on Investment).

2.What it does?

The main benefit of Big Data is access to large amounts of data that allow us to interpret and identify patterns of behaviour, which in turn, provide a new approach of understanding to make informed decisions based on real-world data.

According to a Gartner study, 75% of companies are investing or plan to invest in Big Data in the next two years. There are many industries that can benefit from understanding their data. For example, the public sector to gather information from population censuses, medical records, housing and taxes; while the private sector benefits in the areas of financial transactions, customer behavior, market offerings, etc.

In addition, e-commerce companies like eBay has capitalized these benefits that allow them to identify business opportunities through the interpretation of the behaviour of their customers, anticipating their needs and offering products in real-time that can potentially their customers will buy.

3.What are the challenges?

The growth and accumulation of data will not stop. According to the data from InformaBTL, 48% of companies will use Big Data to improve customer experience, 35% will use Big data to improve their income, and 40% of the company claims to be using Big Data tools in the next three years.

The Big Data will keep growing, although it is still in a stage of maturation and adoption. Many companies do not even dare to use the tool because of different factors. The top one is the cost. The InformaBTL data shows that 49% of the companies indicated that the Big Data solution is more expensive than they expected, and 41% do not use Big Data because they do not have the budget for it. Meanwhile, the organizations who are collecting largest volumes of information, such as government or financial companies, are already working with Big Data; but still do not exploit the full potentials from Big Data.

How to start? The first key is that organizations should encourage a data culture and prepared solutions and platforms that allow the organization to store valuable data that will eventually be analyzed.

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