What is Big Data?
The term “Big Data” is the general catch-all for information inputted daily by internet users – locations, activities, e-mail addresses and so on – that is then stored by the service provider, that being the company of the website you’ve been browsing.
Kept confidential and often anonymous, this data helps to inform the company about their customer base, informing them with percentages about how popular their business is, to who, and even why.
Large corporations like Facebook and eBay have invested heavily in this technology – Amazon, for instance, as 1.3 million servers active simply to handle all the incoming data they receive worldwide.
How can it benefit us?
Today, big data is no longer exclusive to the mega-wealthy companies. With 36% of businesses now investing, or planning to invest in big data, it’s no surprise that smaller companies are looking for an in-road.
Having big data and knowing how to use it can give you a huge advantage in the long run. This data is primarily used by companies as part of their customer research, where it can provide a wealth of information on demographics and spending habits.
The analysis that follows is then used to improve the service in whatever way the business sees fit – typically this involves tailoring to the most common demographics, though it can vary depending on what your findings turn up.
Big Data in research & development
No business has ever lasted long without self-improving and adapting. This process is never pure luck, either; it all comes from research and development. While not every business can run it’s own laboratory, at least a small team should be formed to collect and collate data, and plan solutions from their results.
This research is often as simple as inferring trends from a collection of numbers; for instance, the amount of returning visits from customers of a certain age-range. What follows is the development – the process of creating a method, tool or even a whole new service to capitalise on the findings.
All of this, however, can’t be achieved in good time with traditional data-sorting methods. Specialised software, such as from IDBS, should be employed to give your team a way to properly sort, store and use the vast amounts of data they collect. Don’t assume this is only necessary for the larger companies, either – there’s a reason it’s called “Big” Data!
The next thing to do with your now-decoded big data is entirely up to you and your business needs. Confer with your research team and your managers, present your findings and figure out where best to develop. Remember that without a proper research team or the tools they need, this will be that much harder; better to invest now than risk losing control of your own database!
How has big data affected your business, or even your job role? Let us know in the comment section!