What is It? Is Big Data Ready for the Enterprise?
Big data is a rapidly expanding field that deals with methods to analyze, practically extract information out of, or in spite of large or complex data sets that are simply too large to be dealt with effectively by conventional data processing software. The big data theory is nothing new and there have been several breakthroughs over the last few years as computer hardware has advanced and memory capacity has furthermore increased. However, many analysts still do not understand what is big data and how it can help to improve business.
The term “big data” was first coined in a book published in 1996 by two men – J. Alex Halter and Robert J. Kaplan. They defined big data as: “The term big data actually refers to an entire database that is so large that it can’t be handled by conventional information software. It may also involve the ability to manipulate and collect the data very quickly”. Although these definitions are now widely used and seem to cover the subject well, the actual meaning of the term is somewhat more complicated.
As the technology has evolved and the data has become increasingly available for analysis, the meaning of big data has become more flexible. Today it refers to a pool of data that needs to be analyzed or information which has to be processed for some purpose. It may involve scientific research or even industrial applications. Today’s sophisticated analysis software allows big data to be processed efficiently and in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional data processing techniques. Today’s data processing techniques go beyond simple text mining to include image analysis, chemical analysis and whole genome sequencing. In fact, today’s analysts can process more data quickly and more accurately than ever before.
One of the fundamental questions asked by companies that use big data in their business is what is it? How does big data help my business? How does big data fit into my strategic plans? As your company continues to develop, acquire new customers, and expand into new markets you will undoubtedly have to deal with big data.
Historically, the analysis of big data required extremely complex scientific algorithms. This was especially true when text records were the source of the big data. Because of the enormous amount of statistical calculations that had to be conducted, the results often turned out to be inaccurate and unreliable. Text mining, on the other hand, provided extremely accurate results because it used text alone as the primary source of data.
Today, big data has given an edge to the science of data mining. Specialized software has been developed over the past couple of decades, which allow analysts to mine data much more efficiently. Today’s analysts can exploit the enormous amount of data through a variety of methods. Many companies today utilize complex algorithms, data filters and machine learning techniques to extract the actionable insights that they need from big data.
In order to understand what is it, you have to ask yourself: what is data to a business analyst? The answer is: information. With all of the interconnectedness that is found in the online world today, any business must find a way to understand, extract and analyze the massive amount of data that is available to them. By combining advanced analytical software with years of experience, companies are better able to provide quality insight into difficult problems and turn those insights into profitable solutions. It takes years of work to learn to crawl the surface of big data and turn a simple question into a complex solution.
What is it? Is big data finally ready for the enterprise? Only you can decide. Explore the data possibilities with a sophisticated data exploration tool and unleash the potential that lies within today’s data.