The growth of technology meets its match with the demands of Big Data applications. As the sheer volume of data outstrips the current technologies ability to analyze that data, the need to reduce this problem to a manageable size is an ever growing computational concern. While science is breaking its teeth on this monolithic task, businesses strive to be the first to benefit from the results produced from the analysis performed on massive repositories of Big Data sources. Big Data has a lot to offer to companies who know how to use information to gain a competitive edge. In essence, information is perhaps one of the best ways for a company to gain an edge in an emerging market. Those companies who best understand how a market operates, from an informational perspective, will inevitably end up acquiring the optimal advantage for dominating that market.
Understanding What Big Data is Not
Although a lot of business owners are sure they want in on the Big Data game, many of these business owners may not fully grasp what Big Data is not. In its infancy, Big Data applications picked up the wild reputation of using correlative data patterns to be able to bypass the need for more intelligent structured analysis. For a time, this worked to derive accurate trend models. This reputation of Big Data originally emerged from Google’s use of Big Data to predict flu trends. According to this source, Big Data trend speculations eventually failed to keep up with the more accurate traditional methods of analyzing data being employed at the CDC. In short, what was appealing on a business level was how Big Data trends produced a short term advantage over the CDC’s more rigorous analysis of the flu data. Unfortunately, over the long term projections, the CDC was able to maintain a more accurate picture of how the flu spreads using slower traditional analytic methods on the data.
Using Big Data to Drive Your Business Decisions
The former results may have some business owners wondering how Big Data, even though it sometimes produces incorrect results, is useful to obtaining a competitive edge. The trouble with Big Data tends not to be with the mere existence of the data itself. For this reason, large companies still collect what some term real time data exhaust from consumer purchase and payment trends. The difficulty, which deserves further business-savvy focus, is how one goes about analyzing that data. For starters, the size of Big Data is so huge that it requires very fast servers to sift through the data in any amount of meaningful time. This problem becomes expensive for smaller companies who need a cheap solution for analyzing Big Data stores. Additionally, to simply rely on emerging correlative patterns from the data to drive decisions will inevitably lead to all sorts of inductive errors in reasoning the longer models tend to play out. One reason is because some correlative factors are simply bogus, leading to coincidental results. According to FT Magazine, one of the major problems with Google’s tracking of flu trends was that the Google scientists were not hypothesizing about the cause of the trend. They were simply analyzing correlations in the data, assuming that the small data problems would disappear if surrounded by enormous amounts of related data. The results showed that the analytic process Google used overshot the size of the trend by a multiple of two.
Improving the Big Data Results
Since Big Data shows an ability to give a business a short term trending edge, its value in identifying legitimate market trends should not be underestimated. One important factor to consider is that market conditions are ever changing. Only seeing the formation of a correlative factor potentially driving a market trend does not always put a focus on other critical variables that affect how the trend will play out. As a business owner, it is important to determine what is causing this trend. This insight adds clarity to the data. It also helps to identify if the trend has the potential to stick around long term or die off quickly. Alternatively, all the available information within a Big data repository on the market may not be relevant to identifying a particular business advantage. For example, data gathered from social networking sites, although useful in determining what people are buying and interested in, may not be as relevant to a certain business’s ability to thrive. In this respect, knowing how to properly weigh the value of data types becomes critical to intelligently determining which types of data will render the most useful trending results for a particular type of business.
Given the sheer volume of data which resides in a Big Data set, it is foolish to ignore the potential value that such a massive repository of information is capable of revealing. As the old adage goes, “Knowledge is power”. Nowhere is this more true than in the business world. As methods of analyzing Big Data become faster and more accurate, such revelations will prove to give companies a serious competitive advantage over businesses which lack the insider Big Data scoop.
Originally from Europe, currently situated in Brisbane, AUS where I work for Kroll Ontrack. My primary focus is fusion of technology, small business and marketing. I love to share my experience with others by contributing to several blogs and helping others achieve success.