What is Big Data?

Big data is, and will continue to be, a topic of discussion for marketers, IT professionals, and just about every other industry known to man. So what if you’re not tech-savvy, and have no clue what big data is? Don’t worry, even the most accomplished IT professionals are still formulating and identifying the scary blob of data that’s coming right at them.

Why then is it important for the average person like me to have some sort of grasp on big data? Simply put, big data allows organizations to dissect and analyze what’s important to them. Think of big data as a type of weather forecasting tool. By studying the cloud patterns (pun intended) and other atmospheric conditions from the past and present, meteorologists are able to put together a fairly accurate prediction on whether or not it might rain tomorrow.

Just as the weatherman on TV requires an education in meteorology, so too do people on the subject of “big data-ology”. The reason being, big data is essentially just that, a huge amount of information that often times has very little structure. This information can come from many sources; the source could be some point-of-sale (PoS) transactions to the (often illegible) Twitter feeds.

While it is easy to analyze a simple transaction denoted by amounts paid for a service, it takes a bit more effort to decipher cryptic social media jargons. However, despite their differences in medium, PoS transactions and social media data are both major additions to big data.

Big data analysts may use the two pieces of information to see if there’s a relationship between the time at which the transaction was made and when a certain social media trend becomes hot. If there’s a significant correlation between the two, the data can be used to ramp up production or marketing of such services and products.

The topic of big data is indeed a big phenomenon, and the simple explanation above is not intended to be a concise definition. Merely, it is meant to provide a general overview of what big data is and how some are using it. Digging deeper into the subject, should you dare, will provide you with a wealth of insights on where we’re at in terms of how we use big data, and where it will go in the coming years.

Once you have a firm grasp on the concept of big data, there is virtually an endless repository for tools and principles for you to learn and adapt. With big data on your side, you can accomplish much more and reach your goals faster.

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