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5 most important things to know about Big Data

Big Data is huge and it’s only getting bigger. It’s to the point now where as one writer says we might eventually run out of adjectives to describe this technological revolution – “big data,” “bigger data,” “even bigger data,” and “biggest data.” Indeed, Big Data is on every business leaders’ mind today. Data is now considered an asset much like gold, silver, and precious metals. Indeed, we hear a lot about Big Data today and the benefits it can provide to businesses. IT channels are saturated with advice and prescriptions around this market. What is helpful, though, is to stop and take a brief reality check to figure out what the most important points you should be considering about Big Data. What is most critical to know at the current stage in this exciting and revolutionary market? In the following we outline the top 5 things you should know about Big Data as it stands today.


Big Data is only going to get much bigger: Basic statistics tell us that we’re only scratching the surface of where the Big Data market is going. The growth here is exponential since the amount of data in the world more than doubles every 3 years. This means that by 2015 the world will have 8 zettabytes of data, which is an 8 with 21 zeros after it of bytes!

Internet of Things will mean really, really Big Data: Researchers predict that by 2020 over 30 billion objects will wirelessly be connected to the internet. With the massive levels of information processing we’re already seeing, it doesn’t take rocket science to imagine the kinds of data that will become available from these sources . . . and the kinds of resources needed to capture and process and share all of this data. Truly, the dawn of the Big Data era is only beginning! The announcement by Google of plans to purchase Nest Labs, makers of digital thermostats and smoke alarms, for $3.2 billion shows the value that the search engine giant puts on the emerging market of Internet of Things . . . and all the rich data that it will produce that will need to be categorized and managed.


Big Data will continue to transform IT infrastructure: The sheer volume of data needing to be managed will force traditional IT shops to upgrade their familiar client-server based systems to account for rapid development cycles and real-time processing demands. Cloud-based systems will increasingly become the solutions of the day, and ultimately will lead to better and faster integrations between the areas of mobile, Big Data, and cloud computing in general.

There is a Big Data talent shortage: You’ve probably heard this point elsewhere but it bears repeating. There exists a clear shortage of talent necessary to meet the business demands of Big Data. According to a McKinsey report on this topic, “The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings.”

Businesses struggle with how to derive business value from Big Data: A 2013 report by Tata Consultancy Services revealed that one of the biggest business challenges with managing Big Data is cultural, not technological. Let’s turn to the report itself for clarifying this point:

It is an organizational or cultural issue: getting business units in a company to share information across the organizational silos (divisions, business functions, etc.). This issue has plagued companies for decades, long before the phrase ’Big Data’ was coined. Business functions become protective of their data and often don’t have any incentive to share it internally. However, many business decisions can be dramatically improved when decision makers have access to the bigger picture: what’s happening with certain customers, problematic products, and service issues.


A wise man once said that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Knowing the most important things about Big Data can be helpful or hurtful depending on how your organization uses (or doesn’t use) the information. What is paramount is the need for organizations of all sizes today to get onboard and start developing clear strategies around how to gather, leverage, analyze, and glean insights from Big Data. Don’t get left behind, start today and begin to turn your company data into a gold mine!


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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.