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Data is all around us, it seems that wherever we go we’re leaving a data trail the size of a mountain.

It’s estimated that in 2011 we generated 1.8 Zettabytes (10^21) of it. By 2015 that number is expected to be 7.8 Zettabytes per year. The amount of data out there is simply overwhelming, spawning the term “big data”, and it’s quickly becoming the next step in the evolution of how we view and work with data.

You’ve probably been reading technology blogs and have seen Big Data mentioned in conjunction with large companies, maybe even dismissed it as something, “for the big guys”. While Big Data is currently the focus of large companies, it won’t stay that way for long and it will pay to know about it.

What is Big Data? In recent years the amount of data available has exploded and companies have reached a point where there’s so much of it available they can’t physically store or analyze it using existing means. This quandary is called Big Data.

Frank Moss, former director of MIT Media Lab, describes Big Data as coming from, “Computers, smart phones, GPS devices, embedded microprocessors, sensors…[which] are forming a ‘societal nervous system’ that is generating a cloud of data that’s growing at an exponential rate.”

This growth has overwhelmed many companies causing a need for Big Data solutions. These solutions provide businesses with a way to immediately make sense of vast amounts of information, make informed decisions and exploit data.

What can I Do With Big Data? The uses of Big Data are near limitless. For small businesses the best deployment, currently, is for market research. You can use Big Data to help decrease the risk of decisions by increasing your knowledge of current trends, your target market’s demographics and customer buying patterns. Research that would normally take weeks can be done in minutes or seconds, allowing your company to make better marketing decisions quicker and with a higher chance of success.

Are SMEs Ready for Big Data? Large companies are utilizing Big Data because they simply can’t keep up with the incredible amount of data generated. At the same time, smaller organizations have simply not reached the point where they are being overwhelmed by data, therefore there’s no pressing need to look into it. This is rapidly changing though, so it’s beneficial to keep your eye on developments.

If you have any more questions regarding Big Data or Business Intelligence and their uses within your organization please contact us, we will be happy to sit down with you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org.

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