2015, digital products and services represented 22 percent of the world
economy. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 25 percent—a growth rate of
10% since 2005. This holds significance for companies of all sizes, because the
digital economy drives innovation, increases competition, and encourages growth across all industries.
the heart of the digital revolution is Big Data, which companies can capture
and use as a tool to determine the best course of action to take in the
constantly-evolving digital landscape. Big Data is the best resource at a
company’s disposal in the digital revolution, and those companies that take
advantage of what it has to offer will find themselves thriving in the wake of
are five things that every executive should know about Big Data to help his or
her company thrive.
1. Big Data can best be identified by
the “3 V’s”
professionals have designated three definitive properties that characterize Big
Data, a term that roughly refers to the massive streams of data that are too
large and complex for traditional analytical tools to interpret. The first “v,”
volume, refers to how much data is created and stored. The second “v,” variety,
is used to describe how many different types of data are present. The last “v”
is velocity, which represents how quickly the collected data can be processed
upon collection. A fourth “v” is sometimes included—it stands for the veracity
or quality of the data.
2. Big Data can be structured or
Data is too large to be organized and decoded through traditional methods
because it comprises information collected from countless sources, most of
which are attributable to the digital revolution. The data that makes up Big
Data is either structured or unstructured, depending on its source and mode of
structured data is estimated to make up only 20 percent of all available data,
it is much better organized and straightforward to collect. Both humans and
machines can create structured data; examples include GPS data, information
collected from medical devices, or call detail records like the caller,
recipient, and time of call. Structured data also includes any personal
information typed into online forms, like a person’s zip code or gender.
unstructured data is abstract, lacks a predefined data model, and is much more
difficult to sort, interpret, and apply. Examples of unstructured data include
audio files of customer service calls, uploaded videos, and all activity
generated by individual social media users. Unstructured data often contains a
multitude of information contained within text or multimedia content.
3. Big Data is going to get even
bigger, thanks to the Internet of Things
indicate that existing technology generates more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, due in large part to the increasing prevalence
of mobile, tablet, and wearable technologies. However, Big Data is poised to
see significant growth in 2016 alone because of the increased availability and
ownership of connected devices in the Internet of Things. These include objects
like household appliances, cars, and even buildings that collect data.
2020, some industry experts anticipate the number of connected devices will
rise to more than 28 billion as smart technology is increasingly implemented
into homes, expanding the influence of the Internet of Things.
4. The analysis of Big Data can yield
big benefits for businesses
its own, Big Data is simply large amounts of information, gathered and stored.
The real value of Big Data is uncovered through analysis, which can yield actionable
insights that a company can use to increase sales, maximize growth, and operate
analysis of Big Data can help companies make decisions about critical aspects
of business operations, including opportunities for cost reductions and the
development of successful new products. Big Data analytics affords companies
insight into customer buying patterns, preferences, and levels of satisfaction
with existing products—all of which can be used to design products or services
that meet customer needs. The real-time nature of Big Data analytics also
allows companies to be more nimble and agile, as it can provide early indication
that a process or product needs to be altered, saving time and money.
5. Most business leaders aren’t using
Big Data to the full advantage
Data is at the heart of the digital revolution and can be considered the new
“natural resource” for business. Digitization has created technological
imperatives for the leaders of modern companies, and those don’t recognize the
potential of Big Data as a new, valuable resource may find themselves falling
behind those companies that use it to their advantage.
2015 study conducted on the data management practices of companies in the
mid-to-large scale range indicated that, while 75 of these companies’ leaders
believed that they were taking full advantage of Big Data, less than 5 percent of
them had actually invested in the technology and skilled workforce needed to actually
do this. Moreover, poor-quality data represents a huge drag on the American economy—it
costs companies more than $3 trillion annually.