Big Data, do we need it?

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Without doubt we are living in a new world, one where information is becoming more critical to our everyday activity.

It’s a world in which information and the way in which it is used to generate insightful intelligence is key to our success.  Those who choose not to invest in their Information Strategy will simply fall by the wayside as others do.

But without clarity how should an organisation invest? What will make a difference and enable key decisions to be made?  Is the information aligned with the organisation vision?

Big Data is a term that is everywhere at the moment.  There is little clarity as to how and why it should help organisations.  It’s one of those techie terms that the marketing guru’s have got hold of, and they’re exploiting every corner.  But yes Big Data is real, and there is also a very real need for it.

My favourite definition of Big Data is the 3 V’s (IBM).  This is the guiding principle as to whether a Big Data solution should be considered:-

  • Volume – Large amounts of data
  • Velocity – It needs to be analysed quickly
  • Variety – Different type of structured and unstructured data

itelligent-i do not see Big Data as the resolution to all you’re information requirements.  Because it’s not.  Big Data is just that.  It’s a term used to segment a type of data that is huge (as in universe HUGE!), and it will be generally unstructured or semi structured.  The easiest way of looking at it – current database technology cannot manipulate the data to answer your questions

What are the right questions? Is Big Data essential to an organisation?

Well – Yes, all information that’s relevant to an organisation’s strategy is essential to understanding success and failure.  But that’s the point.  When a need for information arises we simply ask for a report or extract from a system without really understanding or considering the question(s) we are asking?  So yes, to get an answer it may require a Big Data solution,  or it may require a 5 minute task for one of your data analysts.

If an organisation considers an Information Strategy it shouldn’t need to worry about Big Data or any other data concepts for that matter.  In the application of an Information Strategy all of your requirements will be met by whatever means necessary given the balance and level of investment an organisation is able to provide.

For the private sector the most important principle is that an Information Strategy provides the insight and intelligence required to stay competitive and get ahead of the competition.

For both private and public sectors the insight and intelligence an Information Strategy provides ensures an organisation is able to monitor the effects on clients and citizens, and importantly make predictions with a scientific approach for the future.

Worrying about Big Data, in fact any data solutions, should not be the concern any business leaders – there are many experts in this field who can help should it be required.  Using the information and having the insight to support an organisation’s strategy should be of the upmost importance ensuring an effective organisation.


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