Thursday, May 21, 2015

What is Big Data?

If you are interested in big data and googled it you might read this famous Dan Ariely’s quote which has been circulating for the years: ‘Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it’.
It seems amusing and to some extent true! Nowadays there is an extravagant growth in marketing and as a matter of fact, it would be strange for marketers not to accept this concept and so this is where big data comes in. Data is everywhere all around us and we create enormously million bytes of data every day on our smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs. But we, as marketers, still don’t know what to do with this goldmine.
Big data is an evolving term that describes any massive amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that provide a potential to be mined for extracting information.
When we want to define big data, it’s so important to understand the mix of unstructured and multi-structured data that contains the volume of information. Unstructured data originates from information that is not organized or simply interpreted by traditional and common databases or data models like metadata, tweets, and other social media posts. On the other hand, there is a variety of data formats and types inferred from interactions among individuals and machines, such as web applications or social networks categorized as multi-structured data. Multi-structured data consists a wide variety of great examples and applications including web log data, containing a combination of text and images along with structured data like form or transactional information and it is undergoing an evolution.
Big data is also used to describe the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured. Volume of data considered important by enterprises leaders since more data may lead to more accurate analyses resulting to more confident decision making.
There are three Vs that define the big data more tangibly: Volume, Velocity and Variety.
Volume: Many factors influence on increasing the data volume like stored transaction-based data and (un)structured data streaming extracted from social media. Todays, storing the exceeding data is not an issue by decreasing storage costs. Instead, how to analyses the large amount of information extracted from this relevant data is the state-of-the-art.
Velocity: Take an action rapidly to deal with unprecedented speed data stream velocity is an important challenge for most organizations specifically in real time applications.
Variety: Data today comes in all types of formats such as structured, numeric data, information extracted from business applications, unstructured text, email, video, audio and financial transactions. Merging and governing the varieties of data is a problem many companies still challenge with openly.

So, don’t forget that every organization needs to fully understand and embrace big data: what it is to them, what is does for them and what it means to them.

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