Data is everywhere, but what is big data? It has a variety of definitions and some are more relevant than others. I’ll cover some common definitions here. However, there are other applications that aren’t covered here like Machine Learning, Augmentation, Classification, Data Mining, and many more. Most if not all of the above can be applied to databases and large clusters of computers. However, a company only needs one application, unless they are developing multiple applications in parallel.
Data visualization is one way to think of it. Think of visualizing a map with data from the past, present and future. Those maps are a visualization of big data using a computer. We can do the same thing when speaking of applications. We can visualize big data in a way that makes it easy to understand.
A question often asked is what is big data used for. I’ll give an answer that isn’t what everyone wants to hear, but is a necessary one. It’s very important for businesses to collect and manage large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. Large amounts of data allows the business to make quick and informed decisions on product and service design, marketing, research and development, and more.
Another way to think of big data is that it is a great way to collect insight, or intelligence about the world around us. Big data has turned many businesses into intelligence agencies. Companies like Intel, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Amazon and others have gathered and analyzed massive amounts of information. They then use this information to make decisions that are ultimately good for their business. They can help create new products, services, offerings, business strategies and help improve customer experience.
The truth is, big data is already available. Analytics software like Sugar CRM, Axapta and Microsoft Money can manage data sets from customers, vendors, and others. The question then becomes what makes it so important? Analytics creates reports based on the analysis of collected data and it gives business owners a clearer picture of how their business is performing. However, with just basic analytics software, some of the questions still remain.
Businesses still need to learn more about big data and how it can work for them. Basic analytics software may be able to manage smaller data sets in certain situations, but large data sets will require even more specialized tools. It could take weeks or even months before a business can assemble the data sets they need to analyze and make decisions. This could be a problem down the line if they don’t make the right decisions in the first place.
As a business grows, they may need to add additional data sets, especially as they hire employees, purchase more equipment or need to expand. Some companies are trying to stay ahead of the curve by collecting data sets and using mathematical algorithms to analyze it. While this method is slower than other methods, it could prove to be more efficient down the road. However, there isn’t an easy way to predict which algorithm could be the most successful one in the long run.
When a business needs to answer the question, “what is big data?” it is best to start by considering what information is vital to the health and future success of the company. A business needs to gather all of the necessary data sets in order to make informed decisions. Big data can be used to improve processes, cut costs, and optimize workforce productivity. Understanding what is big data and using it to its fullest extent, could prove to be the best strategy.