What is “big data”?
Big data has many definitions, but simply put, it refers to the fact that there is now more data, collected from multiple sources, being processed and analysed at a rate faster than ever before. Vast amounts of accessible data, often in real time, means more insights which leads to better business decisions.
Big data does open incredible opportunities to businesses, however, it takes a structured and disciplined approach to effectively mine the huge wealth of available information.
Big data: how it can help your business.
The question is, how can big data help your organisation? There is a reason big data is heralded as the future for businesses and organisations globally. It provides companies with invaluable insights into consumer behaviour, employee productivity, customer trends and countless other benefits.
Big data can be used to make the right hiring decisions, forecast near-accurate productivity numbers and innovate to meet consumer trends. The sheer amount of data collected and analysed for relational significance has potential to:
- Shape business and management decisions,
- Boost performance and productivity,
- Refocus customer segmentation, and
- Tailor product offerings to meet customer demands.
Big data and the big picture
Big data is at its best when used with a targeted focus. This means that data should be gathered using strict parameters within which the information can be understood and insights applied.
For example, organisations needing insights on product usage can use big data to target their query to this narrow focus and analyse findings from the data provided.
Whatever your organisation needs, big data can provide a foundation of practical insights and accurate indicators upon which to base important decisions.
Unlike conventional analytics, which is based more on research-analysis of traditional transactional data (such as payroll, absenteeism and sales conversions), big data takes in the whole “big” picture. The resulting information is based on real-time and collated information from thousands of sources, captured and analysed to discern value in deep relationships and connections.
More businesses are investing in data-driven strategies and are achieving impressive gains by pushing innovations in productivity, workflows and organisational development and by implementing insight-driven hiring criteria. These gains are also evident in an increase in market competitiveness due to innovation and changes based on data-driven indicators.
Implementing big data: the challenges to your business.
While the positive applications of big data herald great things for businesses globally, there may be some minor disadvantages to be had by rushing into adopting big data too quickly.
Primarily, big data is expensive to implement. The sheer amount of analysis to unearth connections and patterns takes time and investment. Also, because the investment is made before the value of the data can be realised, many companies are reluctant to jump on the big data bandwagon.
Also, the analysis and interpretation of findings in big data requires specific skills from specialist analysts. These skillsets can be challenging to find, but with the emergence of big data then we will see a corresponding employment of specialist analytical skillsets.
Another hurdle is the significant and costly undertaking of implementing new workflow to accommodate the use of big data across the organisation. However, while the initial set-up seems daunting, the pay off for the effort can be immeasurable.
Lastly, because big data is reliant upon collecting data from multiple sources and maintaining large data deposits, there is a security and privacy risk to the data. To mitigate these risks, organisations need to employ structured security and governance frameworks to ensure and maintain the integrity, health and cleanliness of the data.
Big data and your organisation.
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