The term Big Data has been around for quite a while now but many are still confused or totally unaware of what it is and how it works. One thing for sure, despite how technical it sounds, Big Data is not about computing or information technology.
While it might be discipline under these sciences, Big Data has already grown and crept into almost every part of businesses today.
So, what is Big Data exactly?
This essentially covers the data you use in your business. In the past, everyone was talking about using data efficiently and intelligently.
All of a sudden, it became Big Data and this phrase has stuck ever since. It actually involves each data your company has stored from the start. But that is not all.
It also includes the data you store online (in cloud servers) and offline too. In Big Data, there is no specific need to organize or digitize all your data. So what does it mean? Big Data is:
- Data that collectively exist in your servers either categorized or otherwise
The idea behind is that the data is used for all types of reasons through analysis and other means. It must be noted that you do not need to use ALL the data for the analysis as they usually cover different parts or different segments of your Big Data. After analysis, you usually use the results for predictions or forecasting to help you make better decisions.
This means that your organization is now deriving decisions based on the results of the analysis using some very high-level technology platforms. The data that you are using could be those that have been stored for many years whether consciously or otherwise.
So, is Big Data really BIG?
This depends largely on your company and the way you store your data over the years. Remembering that Big Data refers to ALL the data you have stored and not just parts or parcels of them.
According to some researchers, standard spreadsheet programs (like Microsoft Excel) or Database Management Systems might not be able to manipulate or handle Big Data purposes.
Instead, specialized tools (such as Hadoop) would be more suitable as it can analyze all the data at any one time. This, however, can be subjective as it really depends on how much data you have.
In the practice of data analysis, the common method is to first derive a data set which is based on common fields to ease the process. Big Data is a completely different process.
In fact, you do not have to create any form of subsets. Tools that are available can actually analyze the data no matter how big the volume would be.
How does Big Data Help in a business?
The main idea behind Big Data is to help in forecasting and making better decisions. With Big Data, businesses can now analyse the past in order to determine the future (to be more accurate than before). This could be due to several reasons.
In a world of stiff competition, the need to know your customers’ needs and demands have become more prevalent than ever. You can now use Big Data to analyze which location have the biggest traffic and where are your customers mostly coming from.
Besides that, you can now make better decisions on when to stock up your inventory based on the sales that you recorded throughout the years. While such tools have been available previously, it is in Big Data that you can now analyze data in your organization which are not categorized as well.