What do we mean by big data?

Data is not a new concept; it is just how we capture and use it that has evolved over time. From written lists to early computers and spreadsheets, right up to what we can achieve today in the digital world. As this developed, the volume of global data and in businesses also expanded and so Big Data was born.

There are many descriptions of what big data is and often how it relates to business. Some are much more complicated than others!

In their book, Cukier and Mayer-Schonberger sum it up well with two views. One in terms of size.

“…things one can do at a large scale that cannot be done at a smaller one, to extract new insights or create new forms of value.,”

and two, what can be done with it,

“The ability of society to harness information in novel ways to produce useful insights or goods and services of significant value”.

Basically, it’s all about the processing, usage, and management of large data sets. These large data sets are generated when people interact with different systems and each other; every day and everywhere. Big data continues to evolve as do newer tools and techniques to process the data and make data understanding simpler for everyone. So why is big data talked about so much?

READ MORE: How much data is on the internet? The Big Data Facts Update 2020

Is is it a Big Deal?

It sure is! In so many ways; from crime prevention to saving lives! Take what is happening around the world right now to understand just how important big data can be.

As COVID-19 rapidly spreads throughout the world, tapping into and analyzing big data has been critical for government decision-makers, healthcare professionals and many more to track and understand the outbreak. Analysis of early data allowed risk groups to be identified and it was new data that led to governments in the US and the UK quickly changing their policies in handling the pandemic.

Alongside digital tools, big data is being used extensively to help reduce the impact of the coronavirus. Take a look at just a few examples of how;

  • develop a new vaccine
  • aid medical planning, e.g. hospital beds, ventilators, medical staff
  • trace people’s movements
  • understand how people are coping with the burden that it is imposing.

Some commentators warn that the data needs to be used with caution because analysis and predictions are only as good as the data that goes into them. Highlighting just how crucial data quality is.

What about big data and businesses?

Many companies, and not just large organisations, sit on large information flows, for instance on sales, services, products, customers, suppliers etc. Any business with a website, social media presence or e-commerce generates data, so whether it is using external big data, self-generated data or a combination, all of it is extremely valuable.

Business decisions can be influenced by a number of factors, such as company culture, the world economy or even gut instinct, but there is nothing as convincing as solid data. This is where big data plays a very important role and becomes a big deal. If a company leverages its data it can help towards achieving strategic goals.

Here are just a few examples of how:

  1. review performance
  2. perform risk analysis
  3. create new revenue streams
  4. solve problems
  5. understand consumers and their needs
  6. protect and store sensitive information
  7. outperform the competition
  8. identify growth opportunities
  9. re-develop or produce new products

All the insights derived from business data can make an immensely positive impact on the bottom-line. To make that happen businesses need to understand both the power of big data and the importance of its accuracy in the first place. Only effectively presented and properly analysed quality data can make a positive impact count.

 In fact, that is backed up in a recent study by Gartner, where it was found that

the average cost of poor data quality in a business can amount to between $9.7 million and $14.2 million annually!

Are you truly confident about the quality of your data? If you hesitated in answering that, contact NodeGraph for a demo today.


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