The term, Big Data gets thrown around a lot, and you probably know it’s important to apply it to your business. But what is it exactly, and are you ready for it? Big data means exactly what it sounds like. It’s data that is ‘too big’ to handle through conventional means. So, while you might have access to these massive volumes of data, you won’t be prepared to deal with it using your current systems of operations. You need to take additional steps to utilise it efficiently and effectively.
The interesting thing about technology is that it evolves with human interest at its core. As new systems develop, new experts arise to manage it. There is a crop of big data analysts that are trained in processing, analysing, and synthesising big data. While the data might be gathered by software and hardware, a human eye is needed to convert it into practical use. Your data analyst will compute your data at both a macro and micro level, tailoring it for your specific business needs.
Big data falls into four main categories: descriptive, diagnostic, prescriptive, and predictive. Data is basically a large amount of information, so it takes human intelligence to sub-divide it into usable chunks. As a very basic example, let’s talk about data on computer use within a particular region. The raw data may mention how many people live within the region, how many use smartphones, what operating systems their phones run, how many use tablets, which mobile service providers are used, which internet provider each device uses, how many people use laptops vs desktops and much more.
This information needs to be broken down and translated into usable units. In this specific example, descriptive analysis could create a template that lists the number of mobile devices used, and their models. Diagnostics may be used to identify how often consumers replace their phones, and what models they choose. Prescriptive analysis might conclude that since most people are accessing the Internet through mobile phones, it would be a good idea to focus on mobile-oriented solutions. Predictive analysis might find that since 200 new phones are bought every day, the shop needs to restock a minimum of 1,500 phones a week.
This is an extremely simplified demonstration of how big data works. To prepare your business for it, recruit a skilled data analyst with a background in your industry so you can reap the full benefits of big data.
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