Big Data is certainly a trending topic, a buzz word being thrown around in countless meetings and sales pitches, but what is it and can it really add value to your business?
Big data is a big deal, and it's also a big benefit to any business. Unfortunately trying to get up to speed can be a big headache.
The problem lies in the fact that 'Big Data' has become a buzzword referring to a broad variety of technologies, systems, and methodologies.
Big Data itself refers to all data gathered everywhere across the internet. Online shopping habits, video streaming, social media, everything. The internet itself could be called Big Data.
Usually when people talk about Big Data they aren't referring to the data, but what can be done with it. Understanding this is important to being able to leverage Big Data's potential.
The most obvious tool at hand is analytics. These days any size business has access to services such as google analytics without needing specialized software or an IT department. And that's just one example, every big tech company is rolling out their own analytic platform now. Getting started is usually as simple as pasting a tracking-code somewhere in your website.
The benefits of analytics should go without saying. Everything from what ads customers engage with to how long they spend on the website, even what website they came from. The more data a business has access to the better they can profile the needs of their customer.
For small to mid-size businesses, analytics are going to be the bread and butter of their big-data buffet. These insights can help shape everything from marketing strategies to risk analysis. Don't give Big Data all the credit here, while there is access to unprecedented information, using it effectively still comes down to good old-fashioned business instincts.
For larger businesses Big Data becomes unavoidable. Large companies generate large amounts of data. They have to figure out solutions for handling all those emails, customer feedback, payroll reports, databases and so on. All of this falls under Big Data's umbrella.
Ultimately, when you cut through all the buzz words, capitalizing on Big Data isn't the big challenge it might seem like. Most businesses already use a lot of these tools without even realizing. Big Data is nothing new, it's been around for as long as mankind has known how to analyse information. The only difference is we now have unprecedented computational power to do the actual analysing.