13 Mar Why Big Data Is The Next Big Thing
The volume of data being amassed across the globe on a daily basis has reached a staggering level already. Using powerful networks, large enterprises collect and store tons of information from customers, employees, suppliers, and their own operations, while consumers in general contribute to the ever-growing torrent of data as they buy and use products, browse the Internet, and communicate through mobile devices and social media.
It therefore comes as no surprise that analytics and Big Data – the collective term used for these immensely large and complex datasets which have grown beyond the capability of conventional database management systems to store and analyze – are fast becoming important buzzwords in business.
A recent study commissioned by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has brought to light just how extensive Big Data has grown, and how deeply it has permeated into almost every sector in the global economy.
Crunching the Big Numbers
According to MGI estimates, companies added about 7 exabytes of new data into storage for the year 2010, while consumers contributed another 6 exabytes of data stored in their PCs and laptops for the same year. Note that 1 exabyte is approximately 1 billion gigabytes, or about 4,000 times the data currently available in the US Library of Congress.
Now that’s a lot of data. What’s even more noteworthy is that data is bound to grow in leaps and bounds within the next few years. This is supported by IBM’s claim that 90% of today’s data has been accumulated only in the last two years, and that 2.5 quintillion (2.5 x 10 to the 18th) bytes of data are created everyday.
Finding Value in Big Data
These figures only go to show that data is now an integral part of most business operations, and has become just as important as other key production elements such as, say, human resources and equipment. So with the Big Data era now upon us, the challenge that remains for businesses across all industries is finding the opportunities that the available data can bring.
Storage is no longer an issue what with the many available options and decreasing costs for storage. What is more important is how raw data is mined, managed, and analyzed as a source of insightful information.
Any enterprise, regardless of size, that is able to harness the potential of Big Data is well on its way to boosting productivity, promoting innovation, gaining competitive advantage and creating value for their customers.