We know you have heard it before – the buzzword, “big data.” People are fascinated by it. They love to talk about it, but when you ask them what it means, you will rarely hear the same answer twice. We are going to be honest here and tell you we think it is a terrible two-word description for the concept itself. The term can confuse people, and with all of the resources out there describing what it is, few really describe it in the same way.
People often think of big data as a way of processing tremendous amounts of data. In 2013, Microsoft defined big data as “the term increasingly used to describe the process of applying serious computing power—the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence—to seriously massive and often highly complex sets of information.”
Here is Oracle’s definition: “Big data is the derivation of value from traditional relational database-driven business decision making, augmented with new sources of unstructured data.”
These two definitions are not exactly the same, and there are dozens of them out there, many of which have changed over the past couple of years with new and emerging technology. If you don’t believe us, here are 30 to start with: http://www.opentracker.net/article/definitions-big-data
At CTS, we like to think of big data as the engine rather than the destination. We prefer the phrase, “accelerating enhanced data.” That makes the most sense to us, and we think it makes the most sense to business owners.
Let’s break it down here.
Accelerating = increasing speed
Enhanced = improved
Data = tons and tons of information
These concepts are easy to understand and can change the way you do business!
Consider these thoughts:
- You are generating massive amounts of data from your business right now.
- Your data probably lives in silos with roadblocks, making it more it difficult to consolidate.
- You need to harness that data and turn it into a business value (and you need that data now).
This graphic really explains it. You have all of this data that needs to be channeled and turned into something you can do something with.
In the end, what everybody in the industry CAN generally agree on is that big data isn’t just about having more data (since that’s just inevitable, and really obvious). There is also a unanimous agreement that big data is revolutionizing commerce in the 21st century.
The idea of data creating business value is not new. The effective use of data as the basis of competition is relatively new though. Businesses have always wanted to derive insights from information in order to make better, smarter, real-time, fact-based decisions, but the capability of doing so has been expensive, time-consuming, and well – downright daunting. While the ability to capture and store vast amounts of data has grown at an unprecedented rate, the technical capacity to aggregate, analyze, and transform huge volumes of information is only just now catching up.
With today’s technology and platforms such as Hadoop and cloud-based analytics, businesses can gain valuable insight faster and have a head’s up on the competition. It’s more about the engine that will retrieve ALL of your data faster (not just what you currently know), rather than the destination. So, while the buzzword “big data” isn’t the best description of the concept, we think the idea is more than big, and can produce some amazing results.
Stay tuned for how you can justify your investment in a big data project .