What is Big Data?

Big Data has been around since about 2007, but in the last couple of years it’s become a phrase we hear more & more of, and will hear more and more of in the future.

So what is it? Well in brief Big Data can be classified as large amounts of unstructured data. Unstructured data is loosely referred to as “data that doesn’t fit well into a standard relational database model of a table with rows and columns”. For example, emails, documents, images & audio files would be classified as unstructured data.

Big Data implementations often also deal with unrelated data sets. For example one dataset of people living in apartments in London might be used to merge with a dataset of how many people bought bicycles last year. These data sets are seemingly unrelated, but when merged together with some clever mathematical functions might produce some useful results for companies selling bicycles for example.

Does Big Data have to be large amounts of data? No, not always, although open source Big Data software tools such as the well known Hadoop is engineered specifically to deal with large distributed data sets. A Big Data solution could also be useful for smaller amounts of data.

With Big Data the interpretation is key- it is no good collecting and collating large amounts of data if it just sits there. Using Big Data as part of a Business Intelligence solution will give understanding of the data. Taking our example above- if a bike manufacturer wanted to market a folding bike to fit in to a small space in a London apartment, then that data would be valuable to them. They could also use that data along with their own sales data to predict if that product would sell.

If you would like to know more about how a Business Intelligence and/or Big Data solution could benefit your organisation, then please contact us.
Alternatively have a look at the wide range of Business Intelligence services. We offer consultancy and development services for a range of BI Projects.

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