Big Data refers to the deluge of information that is being sent and received at an incredible speed all around us. Even as we speak, there is data being generated. These are data that are unstructured, in the form of emails, videos, pictures, social media posts, SMSes, etc. Big Data also refers to the huge potential that looms large over businesses to make use of this structured data to impact their business growth.
Big data is characterized by the 5 V’s:
- Volume– Refers to the massive amounts of data generated.
- Velocity-It is the speed at which this data keeps generating and moves around. Think social media.
- Veracity-Not all data is reliable or legitimate.
- Variety-This is a crucial difference between structured and unstructured data. Big Data is varied, in the form of tweets, Facebook updates, pictures or videos.
- Value-Big data works on the premise that there is a goldmine of valuable insights that can be gleaned from this mountain of data.
Revenue projections with Big Data
Spending on Big data, thus, calls for investing in the analytical tools and resources that would facilitate the process of deriving crucial and relevant data for a business. The market is ripe for vendors providing Big Data environments and analytical tools that have been designed to store and process a high volume of data.
As per ATKearney, global spending on big data is growing at an average annual rate of nearly 30 percent and is expected to reach $114 billion in 2018.
Wikibon forecasts Big Data market growth to slow slightly in 2014 to 53%, reaching $28.5 billion for the year. Looking ahead, the Big Data market is currently on pace to top $50 billion in 2017, which translates to a 38% compound annual growth rate over the six-year period from 2011, the first year Wikibon sized the Big Data market, to 2017.
Why should Big Data matter?
As per a recent Gartner survey, only 10-15% of the organizations will take full advantage of the Big Data, but that will enable them to outperform their unprepared competitors by almost 20%. This is reason enough for companies to sit up and get serious about Big Data and invest in innovative approaches and analytical technologies.
What are the benefits?
Using Big Data tools and technology can improve operational efficiency and bring down hardware costs as it runs on commodity hardware and low-cost software. The intangible benefits are, of course, having an edge over competitors in being able to find the pulse of the market accurately, apply analytics in real-time, leverage valuable insights in real-time, capture the market ahead of others, and launch newer products and services. The consumer also reaps the benefits of having a satisfied brand experience as his journey becomes personal and effective through targeted digital marketing.
What can Big Data achieve?
Organizations looking to tap the market potential to expedite their sales revenue go by the dictum of “Accurately predicting the consumer’s next move and converting his interest in the company’s products into sales”. The crux is to understand and keep up with the customer’s expectations in real-time.
Since the amount of data that comes in is overwhelming, the foremost challenges that organizations face and which Big Data can help overcome, if leveraged correctly, are:
- Tapping and identifying the key sources: A potential customer could be anybody and a customer communicates in many ways. To tap the right audience and identify the relevant sources can be a huge challenge for companies. Big Data helps an organization understand who its customers are and where they come from.
- Filtering data: Again, all information may not be relevant for an organization. Finding relevance in the sea of information can indeed become exhausting and futile. Big data analytical tools will enable an organization to sieve crucial and relevant data from the heap and categorize them correctly.
- Application of relevant data: Knowledge that cannot be put to use is useless. Big data analytical tools like predictive intelligence can leverage relevant data to predict the customer’s need, deliver relevant products and personalized content across all devices and channels and bring in higher conversion in real-time.
Companies that understand this are seeking to invest technology in CRM systems.
Barriers in the path of Big Data
Despite the apparent benefits of investing in Big Data tools and technology, there is no surge in businesses looking to grab this opportunity mainly because there is a lack of talented resources, the management is wary of its effectiveness. Hence, show reluctance in make a huge investment, there are concerns regarding security and privacy, and inconsistencies with data.
Can Big Data, then, make an impact?
As per the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), traditional organizations need to make the culture shift from being management-oriented towards embracing digitization and automation. “Democratization” is gaining popularity, since the new age analytical tools empower even non-developers to use them and apply the predictive analysis.
By starting small, adopting one or two tools in a couple of areas instead of plunging all at once, an organization can build up the benefits over time and eventually make the big shift.