The Opportunities and Challenges of Big Data

December 12, 2013
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big data storageData management has its difficulties, and companies today are finding this out the hard way as they face increasing challenges managing data they have accumulated for years.

Big Data requires storage, and most companies are not equipped to meet such demands. This puts a burden on firms big and small.

big data storageData management has its difficulties, and companies today are finding this out the hard way as they face increasing challenges managing data they have accumulated for years.

Big Data requires storage, and most companies are not equipped to meet such demands. This puts a burden on firms big and small.

Understanding big data

IBM says on average we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. That’s more than a few bytes.

Let’s look at it this way. You head out for the evening and text your friend to tell them you’re on your way. You have just created data.   You make a stop to pick up some wine – more data. Oh, you’re running low on fuel and need to stop to fill up – even more data. You get the point. We’re constantly generating data. Add the masses of other people doing the same thing and it’s pretty clear to see that eventually this data piles up in those company databases.

The challenge becomes: how to manage all that data and make meaningful sense out of it in order to improve business processes, streamline operations and generate more sales.

Challenges with Big data

Managing big data is challenging, more so if it is unstructured data like text messages.

When data exceeds your capacity to manage it, you are best advised to find someone who can. That translates into costs, making big data an expensive venture most firms would rather avoid.

Knowing what to focus on, how to disseminate the information, comprehend the information, and act on the information can produce a massive headache; not to mention create a load on a company network,  keeping IT people and resources bogged down in an attempt to manage this myriad information.

And then there is the security issue. Keeping big data safe and secure is a huge challenge and obviously one that cannot be taken lightly by any organization.  This is especially the case with the growth of BYOD and remote employees.

The silver lining in all this though is that big data challenges are fewer than the opportunities it offers.

Opportunities galore with big data

Just look at an organization like Amazon, a harbinger of big data success. As a simple example, think about when you purchase something from the online retailer giant and how Amazon offers you a list of what others purchased along with the item you chose, providing customized cross-selling to every buyer on their site. This is how you create success with big data. But there are lots of ways to garner success with big data, such as starting out with batching data instead of using real-time outputs, or any of these six steps to big data success.

Additionally, big data provides a means for organizations to make predictions in real time, or near real time. Trends are easily identifiable, and the analysis required to make business improvements is laid out in front of you, including customer preferences.

Firms can bevel a competitive edge with big data. This challenge is only limited to your creativity as to what to do with the data. This is an opening into new business processes.

The challenge is knowing how to capture and manage this structured or unstructured data in a way that can transform business strategies.

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