What is ‘Big Data?’ The phrase has become something of a buzzword over the past couple of years in the technology industry, but business managers in other industries have rarely been invited into this secret world of information.
IDC has analyzed the business generated by Big Data projects in Brazil and estimates that this was worth $285m in 2013 alone. The market is growing so fast that it should pass the $1bn mark by 2017. Investing in new technology, and the people dedicated to analyzing Big Data, will be essential for every business and government who wants to succeed in the next few years.
However, understanding the real potential of these tools applying them successfully to businesses is still a big question mark to many decision makers worldwide and that is also the case in Brazil.
A textbook description for Big Data would describe a collection of data sets that are so large and complex that they are impossible to manage using traditional databases or analysis tools. There is so much data that it’s difficult to store it, search through it, analyze it, and even share it with someone else.
If you are an expert on database design then this is all great. But business leaders outside the IT sector may not be familiar with any of the jargon used by the technology wizards.
And why should they? A retailer should be focused on their supply chain, not the technology underpinning their ERP system. A utility should be more focused on delivering water, electricity, or gas than worrying about the billing software.
But an understanding of Big Data is becoming critical for leaders in all industries because this is no longer just an issue for the IT team. Consumer behavior is changing and creating new opportunities across many sectors.
Eighty percent of CEOs believe that they deliver a great customer service yet only eight percent of their customers agree, according to data published recently by IBM. Within all the transactional data your company generates will be the answer to questions such as who are your best customers and how you can keep them satisfied, how to find more customers like them, and what is it that is causing the most common customer complaints?
You already have the data, but without effective analytics it is all just noise. Big Data holds insights into who your customers are and what motivates them. Analyzing Big Data can help you discover ways to improve customer interactions, add value and build relationships that last.
Ninety percent of all the data that exists in the world today was created in the past two years, according to analyst firm IDC. The average American office worker generates 5,000mb of data every day just by working on documents, sending emails, or downloading videos. By 2015 the amount of data we are creating now will have doubled – we are exponentially creating more and more data faster and faster.
Figures from IDC also suggest that data creation will have grown by 2000% from now to 2020. And regular consumers create 75% of all this new data. This is because 87% of American adults constantly publish their location – often unknowingly – via their mobile phone and 65 billion location tagged payments are made in the US annually.
As more consumers carry more devices with the ability to measure and record more information, often automatically uploaded to the Internet, there is a sea of data being created and it affects every possible business and industry.
Imagine how a healthcare professional could diagnose a patient if the patient could upload a record of every single heartbeat they had ever experienced because a tiny implant has been uploading diagnostic information since birth.
Imagine a retailer that knows whether you like or dislike their brand the moment you step into their store because they can track your mobile phone and cross-reference it to a public social network like Facebook.
Imagine your electricity provider recommending that you invest in a new washing machine because they can see there is a problem with your old one based on consumption patterns at your home.
Imagine when your local supermarket manager congratulates your wife on her pregnancy before she has even told her friends and family because they can see how her spending pattern has changed.
This may sound like the future, but none of these examples are science fiction - enterprises have the ability to do all this today thanks to Big Data. And Big Data is not just big in the US - the market in Brazil is also expanding rapidly.
But turning all this potential into reality is not easy. The sheer volume of information makes it difficult to transform raw data into useful information and in many cases personal privacy needs to be respected. What may be technically possible in theory may not be legal - or even desirable.
Whether you are looking to start your Big Data journey, train your colleagues within various lines of business or hire specialist help, ZDNet's Mastering Business Analytics series aims to uncover the truth about Big Data in Brazil and how business managers can understand and use this tool for their own advantage.
Over a three-month program, we will give you access to these experts and investigate the current trends and challenges around Big Data in Brazil, present exclusive case studies and provide insight on the current issues and opportunities of the Brazilian market.