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As a business owner or manager you likely need to make small decisions on a regular basis, and have likely gotten good at making them. There has also likely been a time when you have had to make a big decision that had a big impact on your business. This can involve a challenging process and is one reason why many businesses are turning to Business Intelligence (BI). While BI is popular, there is a new sector that is gaining business fans: Big Data.
You’ve likely seen or heard the term Big Data, but do you know what it is? Here is a simple definition, along with some examples and ways businesses can use it.
Define: Big Data
If you search for definitions of Big Data, you will likely come across something along the lines of: Big Data is data that focuses on harnessing and using new forms of unstructured data that move into or through a business with high volume, velocity and complexity.
But what exactly does this mean? Well, many find this definition vague, at best. We found a definition, an equation in fact, that better explains Big Data:
Big Data = Transactions + Interactions + Observations
This is highly structured data related to events. It always includes: Time, a numerical value and refers to an objective, or objectives. Examples of this include, invoices, travel plans, activity records, payments, etc. The vast majority of this information is stored in databases and can be accessed quickly and easily, usually through SQL (Structured Query Language).
This covers how people interact with one another, or with your business. This includes interactions such as Facebook posts and Likes, social feeds, generated content and even blogs. Basically, this encompasses any data you can collect through any type of interaction that this isn’t limited to business transactions. Many experts expect this part of Big Data to really take off and become more valuable as social networks become ever more integrated with our lives and the corporate world.
This is information gathered from the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is associated with unique, individual things that have a virtual component that can be observed, and are connected in an Internet-like structure. Some examples of this include GPS coordinates from a person that visits your website on their mobile phone, or RFID chips in ATM cards. This data can be stored and potentially used to make better, more informed decisions.
When you combine these three things together, along with the data associated with it, you get Big Data.
Some sources of Big Data
Here are just a few of sources of Big Data:
Ways business can use Big Data
There are numerous ways small to medium sized businesses can employ Big Data:
There are many uses of Big Data, and as the world continues to generate more and more data, it will become increasingly important to employ Big Data techniques in your business. If you are looking to learn more about this topic, or any other part of Business Intelligence, please contact us today.
Published on 18th July 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.