Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.
The term “big data” refers to data that is so large, fast or complex that it’s difficult or impossible to process using traditional methods. The act of accessing and storing large amounts of information for analytics has been around a long time. But the concept of big data gained momentum in the early 2000s when industry analyst Doug Laney articulated the now-mainstream definition of big data as the three V’s:
● Volume: Organizations collect data from a variety of sources, including business transactions, smart (IoT) devices, industrial equipment, videos, social media and more. In the past, storing it would have been a problem – but cheaper storage on platforms like data lakes and Hadoop have eased the burden.
● Velocity: With the growth in the Internet of Things, data streams in to businesses at an unprecedented speed and must be handled in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors and smart meters are driving the need to deal with these torrents of data in near-real time.
● Variety: Data comes in all types of formats – from structured, numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, emails, videos, audios, stock ticker data and financial transactions.
At A3Solution, we consider two additional dimensions when it comes to big data:
● Variability: In addition to the increasing velocities and varieties of data, data flows are unpredictable – changing often and varying greatly. It’s challenging, but businesses need to know when something is trending in social media, and how to manage daily, seasonal and event-triggered peak data loads.
● Veracity: Veracity refers to the quality of data. Because data comes from so many different sources, it’s difficult to link, match, cleanse and transform data across systems. Businesses need to connect and correlate relationships, hierarchies and multiple data linkages. Otherwise, their data can quickly spiral out of control.
Big data – and the way organizations manage and derive insight from it – is changing the way the world uses business information.