It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, but surely you have heard about Big Data. Through the years, many have questioned the ability of Big Data in shaping a business and how critical decisions are made. Big Data is helping many businesses in all industries take big steps. From sophisticated predictive analytics to intelligent risk analysis and deep insights of customer behaviour, Big Data is behind it all in some capacity.

Why Embracing and Adapting to Big Data is Essential

Is Big Data is just another term for data analytics? There are similarities and they are related. Just like data analytics, Big Data aims to get intelligence from raw data and translate it into business intelligence, putting a company at an advantage over competition. For big businesses, it can provide new horizons in expanding. For small businesses, Big Data will give useful insights on the market as well as the competition. Although data analytics and Big Data are related, there 3 key differences between them are:

Data volume. As of 2012, about 2.5 exabytes of data are made every day and that number doubles every 2 years. This gives companies and businesses a great opportunity to work with these data in a single data set and not just data collected from the internet. For example, a business collects 2.5 petabytes of raw data every day from customer transactions, from there you will be able to interpret and gather intelligence on the buying preferences of your customers.

Image credit: www.genalice.com

Image credit: www.genalice.com

Data speed. For many applications, the speed of data gathering can make or break many critical decisions. Real-time information gathering makes it possible for any company to be more agile in making fast and effective decisions when it matters most. Any rapid insights can be an advantage over the competition.

Data variety. The many sources of Big Data are fairly new; photos, messages, updates, videos and audio are just some examples.

Is there any evidence that using Big Data effectively will improve business performance? Many experts have stated that not everyone is open-minded about embracing Big Data-driven decision making, but they have found that the companies that characterised themselves as open to embracing Big Data performed better on operational results and objective measures. These experts have also stated that companies that use Big Data are, on average, 5-6% more productive and profitable as compared to their competition.

Overcoming Big Data Challenges

Many believe Big Data is here to stay. This is a good thing for businesses who understand how to acquire and analyse the massive amounts of Big Data generated daily. Raw data is converted into useful information in order to make the right business decisions, enhance operations and be more competitive and increase ROI. For Big Data to be effective and to do what it is supposed to do, companies should overcome the real challenges that have grown around it. Below are six challenges an organisation needs to overcome when embracing Big Data.

1. Infrastructure

Big data requires massive infrastructure that results in highly variable workloads. It means that the amount of infrastructure you need will also vary. One solution to this is to also adopt cloud technology. It does not pertain to the technical side of things, but choosing the right cloud provider will ensure your company’s needs are addressed and provided for.

2. Necessary Applications

There is a very complex application stack behind Big Data and some of it is fairly new. To overcome this challenge, the business or the organisation should adjust to the learning curve quickly and integrate a number of tools with the existing applications in building a stable operating environment.

3. Skills

Having the right people with the right skills in making the infrastructure and applications work. Business analysts, technologists and data scientists are essential to gathering data and turning it into useful information at your disposal.

4. The Right Attitude

Technology will continually evolve and you as a business should evolve with it. When implementing Big Data projects you should plan, experiment, learn and evolve. Balance your research, analysis and execution with the objectives and goals of your business.

Image credit: venturebeat.com

Image credit: venturebeat.com

5. Fragmentation

Many organisation’s data collections are fragmented because every business owns different pieces and types of data. This result to issues in data quality and no department is responsible for all the data if its correct, consistent and up to date.

6. Data Value

There are only few companies that can accurately value their current data and some don’t know how to value the data they are gathering.

You can overcome these challenges by having multi-skilled teams with the right attitude. Having a stable and cross-functional team will make it possible for them to focus on any business-lead experimentation. You can also partner with a digital solutions company to create and customise the needed infrastructure and processes for Big Data gathering and conversion.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.