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The age of big data

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This page has been archived because it is no longer current information but is still relevant, or it is current but over 12 months old
  • Publish date: 04 February 2015
  • Archived on: 04 February 2016

With companies like Google and Amazon building hugely successful business models data, how relevant is this trend for other, perhaps smaller, businesses? Kirstin Gillon investigates.

The term ‘big data’ reflects the enormous volumes of data that we are now generating in the world. But big data is about more than just size. It’s also about exploiting new sources of data, making better use of unstructured data, such as images and free-form text, and about making use of data in a real-time manner. This is often referred to as the ‘3 Vs’ of big data – volume, velocity and variety. There are three broad ways in which businesses can exploit this wealth of new data and associated analytical tools. First, they can use it to gain new insights about customers, operations or other aspects of performance and strategy, including:

  • using new sources of data to gain deeper understanding, for example using more granular data about customers to understand their preferences, activities and location;
  • exploiting the real-time nature of big data to improve services and operations, for example through personalising responses and offers; and
  • applying analytics to gain new insights and interrogate entire data sets, eg:

- recognising new associations and patterns;

- linking data from disparate sources to gain new insights; and

- identifying exceptions, unexpected behaviour and outliers.

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