What is Big Data?
The term “Big Data” refers to the process of identifying, gathering, analyzing and interpreting very large amounts of data to enable more meaningful and actionable decisions. While there may in fact be more data created every second, it is the ability to analyze it faster and in more ways that is gaining attention. Expanding “cloud” and computer storage capacity have also contributed to its recent popularity.
- Much as Moore’s Law applies to computer chip capacity, it is now possible to store, manage and more quickly process extremely large volumes of data due to technological improvements, while doing so at greatly reduced costs.
- As such, many organizations have integrated traditional market research skills with IT programming talent to analyze extremely large data sets in an effort to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations relating to human behaviors and interactions.
- Due to the widespread use of social media such as FaceBook, twitter, and LinkedIn, along with video sharing tools like Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest, the volume of textual and visual information is growing exponentially on a global basis. Many countries have these same websites along with their own versions plus many mobile device apps.
- Much of Big Data is “unstructured” in nature, in a sense like qualitative data as found in responses to open-ended questions or focus groups.On the other hand, data obtained from sources such as web traffic visits, clicks, and financial transactions is numeric and “structured”. By being quantifiable, such data is easier to analyze.
- With increasingly more consumer and business demographics, opinions, preferences, and behaviors being collected, it is possible to construct more meaningful pictures and conclusions out of disparate bits of data using sophisticated software programs and statistical tools.