Data has always been a silent, almost indiscreet part of our lives. In the very near future, it is going to define how we live, and the quality of the decisions that we take.
As much as 80% of all the data in the world has been created in past three years. I also read an article recently which said as much as 500 million DVDs worth of data is currently being generated daily. The present challenge for today’s data and information professionals is how to extract value from the humungous and growing reservoir of data around the world.
Ongoing investments in technology assets, bank records and customer data need to be protected. These are some of the enterprise-level issues companies and consumers are grappling with. IBM’s way of responding to these ‘business information management’ challenges in commerce and industry is to keep making organic investments in cloud, analytics and mobile technologies, in addition to strategic alliances and acquisitions in these areas.
Analytics will be key to the future growth of the African business environment. Having data and not being able to properly use and mine it to help you operate more efficiently will be dangerous because analytics will soon become the soul of every business. Collating and consistently analyzing the traffic to a firm’s website, for instance, will be an instructive exercise. Analyzing this sort of data for trends and insights on customer behavior and preferences will always be useful information for any company keen on retaining and growing its market share.
Big Data is no longer a reference for a growing pool of useless techno-junk – it’s fast becoming the single most effective way to drive your business forward.
Not a day goes by, in my job at least, when someone isn’t talking about Big Data. And whether or not that stands true for you, too, it’s certainly a trend that impacts everyone today.
Big Data has therefore become an extremely under-utilized phenomenon. I believe there are several reasons for this; one is that Big Data isn’t a technology we can pinpoint in the physical sense. We can’t point to a single product and say, “that’s Big Data”. And in the same sense, we can’t listen to a customer’s issue and say, “why don’t you just have some Big Data”.
What Big Data really represents is equal measure of trouble and opportunity. The trouble is that we are producing an exponential amount of data – files, file copies, images, videos, admin, details, emails, etc. – and all of it needs housing. Moreover, the pace of technology evolution means that we’re constantly looking to upgrade systems and devices, leaving us with a bunch of data that needs rehoming.
But on the other hand, while we’ve got this data lying around, we might as well use it. This surge of information is hiding endless insights that can benefit your business.
Let me give you an example: Many of us should by now be used to receiving cold calls and spam mail offering us several types of services weekly – sometimes daily. You might get a call or email from your bank about a credit or debit card that you’re fully aware you don’t want. You might tell them you’re not interested. At the same time, a different type of credit or debit card might be offered through a letter in the post, for those who still receive snail mail. At the same time someone else might call you to offer you a loan. And at the same time, you might be searching the internet for the best mortgage, or for the best place to get a new or used car. The constant barrage of unrelated and inconsistent information is enough to drive you away from your bank and seek new services.
However, imagine that your bank could analyze all the data gathered from your information, needs and concerns and consolidate that into a valuable chunk of insight. That information could be used to personally serve you more directly. In fact, your bank would have the ability to see your mortgage concerns, your lack of interest in a debit or credit card and the fact that you had received countless letters regarding loans and cards that you’re not interested in. It could tailor-make a call or email designed just for you. It could approach you with the sole purpose of offering you the ideal mortgage package, possibly gaining business, as opposed to frustrating you with wasted time and offers you’re not interested in.
This consolidation of information and data is exactly where Big Data services come in useful. And many companies are taking advantage of these by taking the necessary steps to crunch their unstructured data into tangible business insights. This trend will most certainly push the economy forward, but only if it’s managed and used quickly and accordingly.
Unstructured data is building up at a scary rate, and it’s essentially inexplicable text. Letting that get the better of you and your company is going to cause a strain on your storage, management and effectiveness of business. However, breaking it down and using it for business insights will offer up opportunities previously unheard of.