Is Your Data Big?

June 15, 2015
258 Views

So you’ve heard all the buzz about data. It’s big. Apparently, big data is all around us. That’s what they say anyway. Truthfully, it can be difficult as a business owner to identify where you stand in the grand universe of big data. How big is your data? How are you using it? Would you benefit from using the right big data technology? In short, how do you know if your business is part of this big data revolution? Well, let me help you answer that.

So you’ve heard all the buzz about data. It’s big. Apparently, big data is all around us. That’s what they say anyway. Truthfully, it can be difficult as a business owner to identify where you stand in the grand universe of big data. How big is your data? How are you using it? Would you benefit from using the right big data technology? In short, how do you know if your business is part of this big data revolution? Well, let me help you answer that.

Why You Need to Know If Your Data Is Big

The first thing you need to know is why it matters in the first place. Transitioning to a big data platform is a significant strategic and economic move, so it can’t be taken lightly. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you need to know if your business belongs with big data.

Opportunity

A leading falsehood in the business community is that big data is only necessary for those in the tech industry. In actuality, big data has been influencing all industries across the board. From finance, telecom, retail, advertising and everything in between; big data has had a promising new role to play.

If you are unsure about how big data relates to you, the truth is that you probably need an introduction to how it’s currently affecting your industry. Because whether you realize it or not, it is. Learning how big data is currently and projected to optimize your specific industry can help you identify opportunities that you may not have known were available to you.

Competitive Advantage

Among other potential opportunities you find with introducing big data into your business strategy, you may find that it offers a significant competitive advantage. In fact, a study conducted by MIT and the University of Pennsylvania found that out of 179 publicly traded firms, the ones that implemented data driven decision-making have output and productivity 5-6% higher than the ones that didn’t. This is a significant competitive advantage.

Increases Efficiency

As apparent from the study, big data and data driven decision-making is the optimal method of increasing business efficiency. Rather than making critical business decisions off of theoretical evidence, executives have the power to base decisions on firm, quantifiable, data-driven insights. This takes the guesswork out so that high productivity can be achieved quicker.

Now Is the Time to Hire for Big Data

At the 2012 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Gartner analysts predicted that 4.4 million big data jobs will be needed by the year 2015. The bad news is that they also predict that the workforce will be unprepared for this demand with an estimated shortage of over 140,000 data scientists. Even worse, a deficit of 1.5 million managers capable of understanding the complex workings of creating data-driven insights is expected as well. In short, you don’t want to be in line with everyone else for the right data talent when these deficits hit the market. Now is the time to understand your data needs and hire those who are capable of filling them.

5 Indicators That Your Data Is Big

Now that we’ve covered the “why”, let’s go over five simple indicators that your data is bigger than you may think.

  1. Overwhelmed With Data – If your data is coming in at speeds or quantities you just can’t handle, chances are you are ready for some help. This is especially true if you are using multiple data sources such as sensors, manual-input devices, machine-to-machine communications and others.
  2. You Have Loads of Data but Don’t Know How to Use It – Data can be a powerful tool when you have the right technology to utilize it. One indicator that you need to upgrade your data infrastructure is if what you’re currently using isn’t driving real business value. All businesses with large data sets should be able to create genuine, valuable data insights with the right tools. So that begs the question: are you using the right tools?
  3. Looking at Real-Time Data Analysis – Anyone looking to embark in real-time data analysis should be looking at enterprise-grade Hadoop. Real-time analysis requires a lot of heavy lifting and can only be done effectively with data infrastructure and software that can keep up with your input and output needs.
  4. You’re Investing in Additional Data Storage Year after Year – If in order to keep up with your data you have to invest in additional data storage year after year, you could be spending far more than necessary. A modern data infrastructure today will be far more affordable than traditional data storage. On average, Hadoop (a leading big data technology) costs less than $1,000 per terabyte. This is quite significant when you consider than traditional data technologies can cost you upwards of $15,000 for the same amount of storage.
  5. Your Competition Is Using Big Data – It’s never good to be chasing the competition. Unfortunately, there will always be times when we don’t come out ahead. If your competition is leveraging their data, it is very likely that they have identified an opportunity that you may have missed and now it’s time to play catch up. Take a move like this from your competition seriously and act quickly to decide whether this is the time to join the race.

So What Now?

Now that I’ve given you a handful of this to mull over, it’s time to make a game plan. If you’re still unsure, take the time to learn a little more about big data first. I’d recommend you read this free ebook: The Executive’s Guide to Big Data and Apache Hadoop.