Big bang data

Last updated: 20 March 2014

Pick up any magazine or read any online publication and I guarantee you’ll see a reference to the Big Data phenomenon. And why wouldn’t you? The statistics speak for themselves: every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data and IBM claims that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.

How is this data being generated? It’s thanks to the continually increasing stream of digital activity on every cell phone, website and application. And these connected devices are set to further proliferate. According to Cisco, there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and this number will be 3.4 times greater than the overall global population! By 2020 it is claimed we will have 50 billion such devices, which will exceed world population 6.5 times over.

So, is big data under control? Because of our ability to generate data quickly and cheaply, we are facing a new challenge today – the ability to manage it. Large data sets are not just beyond the capability of humans to recognize it. According to the McKinsey Institute’s report, big data refers to datasets where the size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage and analyse. John Bantleman, the CEO of RainStor, which sells database software used for big data projects, indicates two key factors that will challenge the data management process. First of all, companies need to develop a massively scalable storage and computing architecture to manage big data. Secondly, the technology requirements must cover different business sectors and adapt to their uniqueness. These two big data requirements – flexibility and scalability – are the core factors required to achieve smooth data management.

Despite all the challenges that businesses face, big data also offers countless new opportunities to learn about customers and their needs. Thomas H. Davenport emphasizes the big data advantages, claiming that big data is a tool which can bring about dramatic cost reductions, substantial improvements in the time required to perform a computing task, or new product and service offerings. Furthermore, big data is not just a tool to boost new offers – its value lies in the ability to identify relevant information. This is outlined in our white paper which is written by Mobile Groove and will be published next week. It claims that, collected and managed correctly, big data can help to ‘learn’ from people’s interactions to deliver real-time, context-aware offers. These highly personalized offers will build customers’ relationships and boost loyalty. My colleague Cecile Eurendjian also relates big data to better customer experience. According to her, companies should gather, analyze and take accordant output from big data in order to put it in the right context and be relevant to the users.

That is why we need to talk about big data and we need to talk about it now. Big data will enable companies to know more about their businesses, view accurate feedback on their performance and directly translate that knowledge into delivering more relevent products and services for customers. Are you already using big data? If not – get busy!

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