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Big Data – What is it and why should we care?

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Every year the IT industry is talking about a new hot topic, and this year it’s been all about Big Data.

Many big names in tech have been discussing what effect Big Data will have on the storage and handling of data.

So what’s the big deal with Big Data?

Firstly let's understand what Big Data actually is

Let’s be clear to start Big Data is not an oversized pale robot from Star Trek – The Next Generation, but is more about your everyday business information. Big Data is a simple enough concept – incredible amounts of data are being produced on a daily basis and increasingly, organizations need better tools and strategies for dealing with it.

Why do you need to deal with Big Data?

At its heart, Big Data is the analysis of large amounts of varied data to help you understand complex systems. The reason you should care is that in that deluge of data, you will find useful information to make better business decisions… if you can extract it from all the ‘noise’.

Our viewpoint on Big Data – ask the right questions, extract the right data, using the right tools to get valuable answers for your business.


How big is Big Data?

In 2010, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google said, “We create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.” Eric was specifically talking about digital information and in 2010 that figure was five exabytes of data per day. Move into 2011 and that figure jumps to 1.8 zettabytes or 1 trillion gigabytes per day. Move onto early 2013 and that figure is 2.5 quintillion. Basically what it means is that Big Data really is big and is getting bigger by the day.

2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day.


Don’t worry though as you probably haven’t got a few zettabytes of data stored under your bed. However, with the exponential growth of digital data, it may be time for you and your business to start preparing strategies to analyze and detect patterns in the data quickly. Else, you risk falling behind, as the situation will have changed by the time you are ready to act upon it.

Not all data is equal

Data is stored in many different places. The most important source is structured relational databases. This however only accounts for 15% of the data available to a business. What makes up the rest of Big Data is classed as unstructured – tweets, video, instant messages, audio… you get the idea.

Big Data analytics will only work for you if your business has good-quality data, to begin with. Also, the more historical data you have, the more useful your analysis will be, as you’ll clearly see emerging trends.

Big Data will always work best when both structured and unstructured data work together to give you a complete overview.

If your business is considering ways to utilize Big Data, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to give you some advice.

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