Big data or your data?

Big data or your data? 150 150 Simon Hollingworth

When you hear the term ‘big data’ what is your reaction? Does it leave you wondering what it means to your organisation? instil fear and avoidance? Or, ask ‘is it relevant to us at all?’

With the tech industry swamped with acronyms and buzz words the term ‘big data’ is unquestionably another one but, one that it is important that organissations don’t get swept away with unnecessarily.

A 2016 report from IBM stated that over the previous 2 years 90{7465c2450dcd042996416963879c72771606ba211532680daeb6e67dd6282842} of the world’s data had been created. Pretty staggering when you think about it, but what has driven this vast increase? Predominantly this can be put down to the increase of both mobile devices and social media.

When you stop and think about the volume of data individuals put on Facebook before their profile is even live and then multiply that by the total number of users you can see why and how the term ‘big data’ comes into play, and that’s just one part of one social media channel.

Although the world’s data is set to continue to grow in the coming years it is important that organisations remain focused on their own data and the value it does or, can provide rather than getting hung up on ‘big data’ which could prove costly and result in the creation of a plethora of data that is irrelevant and adds no value to your organisation.

Understand your data

The data you have collected and plan to collect is what’s important to your business and it should be this that is the driving force and the centre focus of your data strategy. There is no question that data grows quickly and in many cases when this does happen it more often than not ends up residing in multiple stand alone spreadsheets or systems across the organisation. With data in this ‘silo’ state it can make it hard to analyse accurately and in real time but, for those businesses that do manage this there is no question they are armed to make better decisions, influence business growth and spot new opportunities.

How to identify ‘your data’

Your data, not big data has the power to improve the performance of your business and customer relationships.

Conducting a data audit is a good place to start to get a better understanding of your data and the steps that need to be taken to get the most out of it.

  • Where is your data? Is your data currently in multiple spreadsheets? Is it stored centrally or locally? Is it in a data warehouse or central database?
  • Who uses your data? What do they use the data to do? Does the data educate or inform decisions they are making? How do they access the data, on the move or in the office?
  • How easy is it to get the data you need? Are you able to quickly access and download data you need? Is the process automated or manual and laborious?

These key questions may appear over simplified but understanding them is crucial to ensuring that data can be analysed and utilised in a way that adds value and uncovers new opportunities for your business.

We’ll be covering more about these key steps in the coming weeks.

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