They can translate mountains of digital data into effective business insights in real time

Big Data seems to be quite the buzzword these days. So, what is Big Data exactly?

Basically, it refers to a collection of data sets or information too large and complex to be processed by standard tools. It is about the art and science of combining enterprise data, social data and machine data to derive new insights, which are otherwise not possible. It is also about combining past data with real-time data to predict outcomes.

Big Data is often associated with large volumes of data when viewed from a popular science perspective. For a technologist, it adds the dimensions of velocity and variety in data streams. We are familiar with traditional data analytics where the data is largely transactional, structured and commonly used to predict future trends based on past data. The rise of social data volumes is driving consumer choice, both online and offline. This implies the analysis of high volume and a variety of data streams in real time to expand consumer choices based on their current context. The purpose is to assist in decision support system (DSS), both at the consumer level and enterprise level. The next trend is to use a lot of machine-generated data to combine it with enterprise data to drive an operations support system (OSS) for process automation.

Big Data is giving rise to an interesting collaboration among diverse disciplines of computer science, communication networks and devices, and behavioural science. The advent of data science as a mainstream subject is the outcome of these cross-domain efforts.

Applying Big Data solutions, enterprises can now translate mountains of digital data into effective business insights in real time. They can avoid risks, cut costs, analyse patterns to follow trends and customers’ preferences and suggest better choices for the customers and increase revenue.

‘Majority aware of benefits’

A recent study conducted by EMC among Indian companies revealed that 91 per cent of Indian businesses were aware of the potential benefits of Big Data, but 26 per cent of companies had no current plans to utilise Big Data technology. Meanwhile, according to another study by technology researcher International Data Corp., the Big Data market in India is expected to grow at nearly 38 per cent annually, reaching $153.1 million in 2014.

For instance, India’s leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd. receives around eight billion calls every day, amassing petabytes of data, while India’s third-largest cellular services provider with 130 million subscribers, Reliance Communications, handles over 20 million calls every month from its customers. The challenge is to analyse the data to identify new opportunities and store them securely and affordably. According to a recent E&Y study, most Indian organisations are still in the early stages of understanding the scope of data they generate. The early adopters of Big Data are likely to emerge from experiential sectors such as BFSI, retail, hospitality and media for social collaboration-led solutions, while process automation driven sectors such as transportation, logistics and plant operations for machine or sensor-driven solutions.

The real use for Big Data comes in when corporates or consumers use it for business outcomes in decision-making or in operations management. As it stands today, Big Data demands the maturity of diverse technologies to deliver insights as well as an evolved consumer or corporate to handle big decisions out of it.

The writer is Chief

Technical Officer,

Crayon Data

The rise of social data volumes is driving consumer choice, both online and offline.