Big Data, Big Deal — what’s all the fuss about?
If you’re like me you don’t buy into hypes. It took me close to three years after most my friends had Facebook to finally create an account. Basically it comes down to being skeptical about (social) trends and therefore extra critical. Nowadays big data is everywhere, you can’t open a tech magazine or visit a tech website without reading something about it. But what is big data really? And will we need to adjust our view on the possibilities or should we all just jump on the bandwagon and go with the flow.
Let’s start at the beginning namely what is big data? A simple google search yields a number of varying results:
“Big data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information”. – Margaret Rouse
“Big data is just another name for the same old data marketers have always used, and it’s not all that big, and it’s something we should be embracing, not fearing”. – Lisa Arthur
“Big data is a buzzword, or catch-phrase, used to describe a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large that it’s difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques”. – Vangie Beal
Interestingly enough big data as the name implies has less to do with acquiring vast amounts of data than it has to do with how businesses analyze that data to get the most out of it. Businesses have been gathering vast amounts of data for quite some time, it is only now that the analytics behind the scenes (data) is improving to a point that these vast amounts can be turned into meaningful insights. But even then companies need to ask themselves if they are fully ready and able to turn those insights into useful decisions.
Market research firm Gartner has studied the effect of hyped trends and has predicted big data is on or close to the peak. This has withheld certain companies from adopting the “new” technology says Frank Palermo, senior vice president, Global Technical Solutions Group, Virtusa. Instead they are going to wait and see if the technology can reach the so called ‘plateau of productivity’ and truly live up to its expectations and deliver. So for my fellow Bimmers out there when that time comes to choose you’re electives, you may want to stop and reconsider. Big Data may not be the next big thing, so unless you’re willing to take the risk or better yet be the deciding factor in making Big Data work then go for it!