BIG DATA. What does it actually mean and does anyone care anymore?

By Paul Hinds, Managing Director Asia-Pacific

Big Data is a phrase that was ‘on trend’ for a very short period of time and now (for those that still use it) results I find in an almost allergic reaction in meetings. It belongs to the archaic selling dictionary that includes ‘Internet of things’, web 2.0, and way back when I started out, CRM.

Current, just about on trend phrases include; AI, machine learning and data lakes. No doubt you will have been in a meeting in the last week, where a variety of sentences (not to mention confusing jargon) have been created to include these terms.  A new one that came up for me last week was data graveyard! I can only imagine this is where data that is not used, but we don’t want to delete is stored (securely).

Back to the question though. I believe that what we mean as an industry, is the data that a business generates; internally, externally (potentially from all of its) suppliers, customers, services and that is by default high in volume, complex, dynamic, multi-source and updates in real time. AND the business has a need to manage this information, store it securely, ensure that the right governance processes are in place, measure, report on, analyse and ultimately ultilise in order to make quick decisions. THAT then generates more data, and then we start all over again.  

It’s probably worth adding that we need to be confident and believe that the data is accurate and we can trust that we’re making the right decisions.

I think as businesses we would like to equate it something like this:

The reality is that this does not act as a profit multiplier, but is a necessity to survive and prosper as a business in the 21st century. As consumers we manage multiple data points in real-time as we make decisions every day. What we browse, purchase, listen to, the route we travel, what we eat, order, drink, watch and the opinions we have on anything and choose to share.

If you google ‘how much data does a human being generate’, you get various versions of the following:

 The challenge for businesses, is that as consumers, we do a pretty good job of handling Big Data to make decisions, so expect the companies we engage with to do the same and most importantly, be relevant to our lives.

So in its simplest form, Big Data is an articulation of a need to survive and adapt as a business so you can continue to be relevant and generate profit-which you can apply to AI, machine learning, data lakes but maybe not data graveyards. 

Want to read or hear more? Paul Hinds is always up for a conversation about Big Data. Contact him direct                                                               

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