Big Data is a term that describes the large volume of data accumulated by businesses on a day-to-day basis.
Often collected via disparate systems and stored in one place for analysis, this data can be harnessed from a variety of resources such as the IOT and connected devices, business transactions, customer and supplier databases, social media networks, government data sets, open data sources, and many more.
Big Data is characterised by the 5 V’s …
It’s called big for a reason, there are huge volumes of it being generated by businesses and behalf of businesses, and this is rapidly increasing year on year. It can be challenging to handle this amount of data, and increasingly organisations are turning to the more sophisticated business intelligence tools to effectively capture, store and process their data in real-time.
Facebook has to handle a mammoth amount of photo uploads, something in the region of 900 million per day. This is velocity at it highest and as the IOT continues to take off the more connected sensors will be out in the world, transmitting tiny bits of data at a near constant rate. As the number of units increase, so does the flow and the speed (velocity) at which the data comes in.
Data comes into an organisation in a variety of ways and many different formats. Traditional structured data is the easiest to handle, this is data in rows, columns and databases such as bank statements or mobile phone bills. The data can also come in semi-structured for example as log files, JSON files or csv files. But more often, Big Data is unstructured which means it doesn’t fit into rows, columns or database fields. Unstructured data can be text files, emails, images, videos, voicemails, audio files etc
Veracity refers to the quality, integrity, credibility, and accuracy of the data. Because data comes from so many different sources, it is important to check and validate the data before processing and analysing for business insights.
Despite being described as ‘big’ data, it’s not the amount of data that’s important, it’s what organisations do with the data that matters. The value comes from how useful each data-set is to decision-making and future business strategies.
5 ways to your business will benefit from using Big Data
Back in 2017, the importance of Big Data was such that economists compared it to oil, stating that data replaces oil as the most valuable resource in the world. Like oil, it is easily extracted from endless sources and has the potential for multiple uses.
This is where analytics come in.
Data without the ability to process, tag, sort and link intelligently is just bits of code. But invest in software that enables the data to be analysed intelligently, and you are tapping into the world’s most valuable resource.
1. Understanding your competition
You may not be using Big Data to understand your competition, but your bigger competitors are almost certainly using it to understand you; your pricing models, your online performance, your social media reach, your customer perceptions, and at the same time generating a better return on their marketing budget.
2. Boosting customer acquisition and retention
Data represents the voice of the customer and enables fast, accurate insights into what your customers are looking for. The more data a business collects about their customer base, the more patterns and trends can be identified and critical behavioural insights acted upon to retain their customer base by delivering what they want.
3. Targeted Advertising and Marketing Campaigns
A targeted and personalized campaign is an effective campaign. Big Data predictive analytics can identify high potential customers and match them to the right product, providing a far more appropriate and successful advertising and marketing reach.
4. Supporting New Product Development Programmes
A huge advantage of Big Data is the ability to help companies innovate and redevelop their products and range of services. The days of relying on a ‘gut-instinct’ for the market are over and by collecting as much data as possible before designing new product lines and re-designing the existing products ensures that the design process begins with what fits the customer requirements.
5. Identifying New Market Trends
Gathering Big Data over time will provide the information required to identify how trends develop and change over time, and provide the insight and the time for businesses to prepare for these changes.