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Good with data

With an explosion in the big data available to businesses, how do you go about capturing it effectively or deciding if it’s worth capturing at all?

It has become common to hear that businesses should be harnessing the power of big data and data analytics if they want to succeed in the next few decades. Improved digital capabilities and growth in computing power are making the concept easier to fathom, if not exactly grasp. And, if even HMRC has a plan to make tax digital, it seems the most reluctant SMEs will be dragged into a data-driven future – by hook or by crook.

You need only look at the four Vs of big data (volume, variety, velocity and veracity), as identified by IBM, to see why businesses should be grappling with both the threats and the opportunities afforded by it. The volume, and scale of data, indicates that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily across the world, while hundreds of thousands of apps and platforms have been created to enable a wide variety of data to exist. In terms of sharing that data, the velocity of its streaming has become sophisticated enough for 18.9 billion network connections to exist globally. 

However, the veracity of that data can be called into question: IBM found that poor quality data costs the US economy alone $3trn a year. It’s no wonder then that IBM subsequently added another V to the list – value – which it states is improved when insight is gleaned via superior analytics.

Not unconnected from this point, a mind-boggling array of analytics companies has sprung up offering businesses access to data collecting software, cloud services and interpretative dashboards to help them first collect more and bigger data sets, and then make sense of them.

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 249, December 2016. 

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