What Big Data means to organizations

The amount of data uploaded, downloaded and stored on a global level has changed dramatically, especially in this millennium. In spite of the distances, people get closer with the “World Wide Web”. We can experience that closeness, for example, when people around the world express their opinions about certain topics with just a click. The term “Big Data” was used for the first time in the mid-1990s to refer to increasing volume of information – structured and unstructured data in terms of Volume, Velocity, Variety, Variability and Complexity.

Types of Big Data

Everyday life is full with Big Data. They are classified as follows:

  • Web and Social Media –which includes web content, Twitter feeds, Facebook postings, Linkedln, blogs, Clickstream and the like.
  • Machine to Machine: the data interchanged from one machine with sensors to another in order to measure any particular event. For example: GPS, RFID readings, Utility Smart Meter readings, Oil Rig Sensor Readings, etc.
  • Biometrics uses data from fingerprints, retina scanning, facial recognition and genetics.
  • Human Generated such as Call Center Voice Recordings, Email and Electronic Medical records)
  • Big Transaction Data regarding Utility Billing Records, Telecommunications Call Detail Records, among others.

Organizations using Big Data

A lot of people use Big Data with very specific purposes according to the kind of enterprise. For example, Banking uses big data to understand customers, comply with their needs and reduce risk and fraud. In Education, big data analysis identify students’ progress, better systems of evaluation and support of teachers and principals, and even identify at-risk students. Government agencies deal with traffic congestion, crime prevention, issues of transparency and privacy where data analytics is applied. Health Care manages data regarding patient records, prescription information, treatment plans, transplant lists, and others. Manufacturing uses big data to solve problems, minimize waste, boost production, improve quality, find out customers’ preferences and needs, etc. Retail industry takes advantages of big data to handle transactions effectively; to explore customers market and keep business atoned to updated standards.

Small firms get on the big data roller coaster

Big conglomerates and multinational companies are not longer holding the exclusiveness to benefit from business-intelligence software to grow in the market. As technology evolves – improving every field in the industry -small and medium-sized firms add up to the high transited highway of big data analysis.

A couple of consultants have recently noted in the Business Standard and Smart Data Collective issues. Bernard Marr said “Big Data is better suited for small business than for big business”. Kevin Tully, on the other hand added: “Believe it or not, if your company has been operating for a year or more, you likely have a ton of big data sitting in your company records”.

Why is that so? The explanation is simple. Small businesses have the advantage of agility to act on results from big data analysis fast and efficiently. Keeping track of transactions using any kind of program such as excel, Quickbooks or the like, makes cross-reference with other information a tool chest set of statistics good enough to make any decisions favorable to the firm.

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