Isn’t it just data?

There is a prevalence of news on “big data”. Almost every day, there is another story about how you can benefit from it. Despite all this, most people do not understand what “big data” means. This has resulted in my complete dislike for this term. Businesses have business questions and data. As businesses grow, they collect more data and the business questions change. This means that different methods are used for storing and managing the data; extracting and cleansing the data; and then analyzing and delivering the  results. Does it really matter if it’s “big?”

“Big data” is often defined by large volume, high velocity and wide variety. There’s no doubt that the increases in volume, velocity and variety of data has introduced new technologies and methodologies. These are not right for all businesses in all circumstances. In order to make the right choice, It is very important for businesses to understand:

  • how much data they have?
  • how quickly their data grows?
  • how much data variety exists?
  • what business questions are they trying to answer?

Once businesses have an understanding of what they have and what they want to accomplish, they can then start focusing on the tools and methodologies for leveraging what they have to get to what they need. Another consideration at this time is determining whether the tools that fit best for today are short term solutions, or whether they will grow with the business as the business needs change.

While I believe that “big data” is an overused term that many don’t really understand, I am a big supporter of businesses becoming more data driven. In order for this to be a success, businesses will need to know what they have, where they are going and what they are looking for. They will also want to evaluate the abundance of data storage, extraction, cleansing and analysis tools to determine which work best for them.

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