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Data & Analytics Blog

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What is Big Data? A Beginners Guide

Posted by LPA Software Solutions on Aug 4, 2020 6:09:12 PM

Oil was once the world’s most valuable resource, but that’s no longer true. Today, most experts say data is worth much more. Chances are that data is only going to become more valuable.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for business leaders to understand big data and the role it plays. It’s also key for leaders to understand how to get the most out of the data they collect.

This quick guide will help beginners understand the big data definition. Finally, it will also go over how to make more of your data with analytics.

Defining Big Data

What is big data anyway? The term has been around for a while, but it can still be difficult to get a clear definition.

A simple definition of “big data” is any dataset so large traditional data management techniques can't handle it.

Big data has three defining qualities:

  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Variety

When people talk about “big data,” they’re usually referring to the volume of data. Think about the dataset a company like Facebook generates. With billions of active users, there’s an enormous amount of data created and logged every day.

Velocity sometimes gets overlooked, but it presents as many issues as volume. Facebook doesn’t just generate lots of data, it generates lots of data fast. Traditional data management techniques can’t keep up.

Finally, big data usually has a wide variety of data types within the set. These have to be sorted and categorized properly to be useful.

You Must Manage Big Data

What should be clear is that big data can present plenty of challenges for a business. Yet, when managed the right way, it also presents plenty of opportunity.

That’s why businesses insist on collecting as much data as they do. The majority of businesses collect too much data. Many feel the cost of not collecting data is too high though.

What can big data do? The insights it provides into your business are invaluable. Think back to Facebook and its dataset.

With this information, the social network can:

  • Analyze user preferences and push relevant news stories
  • Help advertisers target people most likely to interact with their ads
  • Analyze trends in user base growth
  • Analyze trends in use of the platform

The social media giant can then make tweaks to its algorithm that make the platform better to use. Users see more of what they want. Maybe they then spend more time on Facebook instead of another platform.

What about Other Industries?

It’s easy to see how data could power a tech-based product like Facebook. What about a business like a retail store?

Big data is helpful here too. The store can monitor traffic, as well as the popularity of certain items. It can track sale performance, as well as manage inventory with ease.

What about a business like a bank? The bank can take a look at usage statistics and determine what products it should offer. Are people shopping for short-term loans, or are they concerned about starting savings accounts?

Big data provides a deeper look into every aspect of your business. You can learn more about your customers and, in turn, learn how to grow your business.

You can also look at your operations and discover better ways to manage the business. If you can manage it, big data becomes a pathway to success.

Enter Big Data Analytics

The problem with big data is how much of it there is. How quickly data is generated is another issue. Most businesses can’t contend with the amount of data they need to process.

For that reason, traditional data management won’t cut it. Your team would spend too much time trying to process the dataset from one day, even as more data was generated. By the time you had your dataset processed, you’d have already missed the trend.

Another issue is that big data is only getting bigger. With the Internet of Things, machines are now adding even more data to the mix. With billions of devices set to come online soon, businesses are about to drown in their data lakes.

Big data analytics is the answer to this issue. Big data analysis harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to process datasets faster and more accurately.

AI functions on enormous datasets. Machines need big data to learn, which then allows them to make predictions. Big data analytics can help you not only spot the trends but interpret them as well.

In turn, you can use these insights to plan for the future of your business. These decisions can be small-scale, such as how much of a particular product to order. They can also be larger-scale decisions, such as creating a new product or service.

Invest in Big Data Now

Many businesses are already collecting enormous amounts of data, whether they realize it or not. Websites, social media, and more generate information. Most of the software you use for day-to-day functions, such as ordering and invoicing, also have reams of data.

You might be surprised by how much data you already have. With the pace of data generation accelerating, smart business leaders are preparing now.

If you haven’t already adopted big data analytics, then it’s time to discover what it can do for your business. Smarter decisions, timely insights, and more streamlined operations are all part of big data analysis. All of this will help you compete in a tough business market.

Powering a Brighter Business Future

Big data can be a lot to handle, but it’s crucial to powering business success in today’s environment. The good news is that you don’t need to go it alone.

Whether you’re wondering which analytics software you should invest in or want a helping hand crunching the numbers, our experts can help you make the most of your data. Get in touch and discover what a difference the right big data analytics can make.

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