The structured and unstructured data businesses are inundated with every day is collectively referred to as “big data,” referring to information that comes from a variety of sources. Of course, this information overload sometimes creates unique challenges — like figuring out how to put your available data to use in a practical way for your business. Take a moment to consider the impact big data can have on business efficiency.
Where Does Big Data Come From?
Social media produces more than 40 percent of all external data. This isn’t all that surprising since nearly half of all consumers use social media when making a purchase decision. Nearly 90 percent of internal data for businesses comes from regular transactions (information gathered from purchases). Additional sources of big data include:
• Audio sources
• Photos and videos
• Log data
What Are the Challenges of Big Data?
Nearly one in four businesses say they have so much data they’re struggling to make sense of it. In fact, many of today’s business leaders admit they probably only leverage about half of the data they consider valuable. Many business owners also report difficulties with managing large amount of data and maintaining the quality of that info.
How Does Big Data Affect Decision-Making?
Prior to big data (2012 is considered the “cross over year” that marks the point when big data became dominant), many businesses simply deferred to the highest paid person in the company for decision-making. By the mid-2000s, many of the big Silicon Valley companies began to collect and analyze data more efficiently. As for how big data is analyzed, most businesses turn to Excel to present everything in a meaningful, accessible form.
How Is Big Data Stored and Analyzed?
There’s so much data available that it can’t be contained to a single server anymore for most businesses. The solution is a new class of databases and the development of machine-learning methods and other technologies to process and analyze data much faster, especially when it comes to spitting out important numbers and totals.
How Are Businesses Meeting Big Data Demands?
The position of “chef data officer” is now commonplace at many businesses with massive amounts of data to handle. According to a survey referenced by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, more than half of all business owners report having changed strategies to better analyze big data. And what do business owners want most from big data?
• The ability to rapidly analyze data
• To use it to minimize expenses and maximize revenues
• The ability to apply previously overlooked insights in a practical way
Does Big Data Create Jobs?
Absolutely! More than 4 million IT (information technology) jobs worldwide (nearly 2 million in the United States) have been created primarily to support big data. The industries where people with big data expertise are in high demand include:
• Professional scientific and technical services
• Information technologies
How Is Big Data Solving Problems?
Practical applications of big data include hotels using collected info to optimize their pricing strategies and increase revenues. GE is using analytics for its wind farm system that includes the ability to learn from how the machines generating wind power are performing. UPS has adopted software that determines the most efficient delivery routes. For predictive purposes, IBM and SAS are considered the top big data leaders.
As you can see, big data can have an equally big impact on your business. Once you find a way to effectively process and understand all of the information coming your way on a daily basis, it’s safe to assume you’ll develop a better appreciation for it, especially when you’re able to use all the info available today to better reach your intended audience online and improve overall business operations.
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