What used to consider a simple annoyance or frustration has now become a respected field of inquiry. Consumer information has transformed into Big Data. As with many things that are vast, Big Data has the potential to intimidate. It is now the professional responsibility of people working in many fields to be aware of Big Data, and be able to use it to their respective organization's advantage. Navigating through and understanding what Big Data is a formidable challenge in of itself, yet not impossible. Effective management of the 21st century cannot fear or be overwhelmed by Big Data; managers must learn how to use Big Data like any other tool within their professional arsenal to maintain the status quo and even ahead or make establish new trends in business.
Big Data is in simple terms, mass quantities of data that are so massive that they become cumbersome to deal with without specialized technology. Big Data is a term that refers to data sets and not necessary one specific piece of data that is big. Big Data not only describes large quantities of data, but also describes vast quantities of complex data. In situations of Big Data, information technology specialist must use specialized database management tools. Some readers may not understand the problem with Big Data, as in why should we care about Big Data? For those of us who use the Internet, Big Data is an issue with which we should become at least generally familiar. For those of who use the Internet as a primary tool in our professionals, we may already be aware of the term Big Data and may have very well already experiences some of the affects of Big Data with or without knowing what Big Data is.
We encounter Big Data often in our Internet user experience, but now that technology has solidified its presence in many of our lives, it becomes necessary for our awareness and knowledge expand and become more in-depth. Big Data brings up storage issues. Unimaginable quantities of data become very awkward to handle. All data must be stored somewhere and when there is too much for current storage facilities, adjustments must be made or data will be lost. Large amounts of data get increasingly difficult to search through and navigate without additional database management. Consider organizations such as Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Yahoo, are companies that have always dealt with big data. Now, as ever-more data deluges organizations globally everyone else has to know how to handle it. That's because it's not going away since a lot of machine-generated data -- from sensors, weblogs, imagery and data streaming from devices -- is growing along with Moore's Law. The more devices generating data out there, the more data piles up in the data center. While this may cause headaches initially because it's more complicated, it brings huge new benefits. (Forsyth Communications, For Big Data Analytics, 2012)
They are examples of well managed Big Data. These are companies that are heavily predicated on the continuous acquisition and accumulation of data. Other challenges with mismanaged Big Data include difficulties in sharing smaller data sets, ineffective or useless data analysis, and effective visualization of data sets.
There is great potential with all things new and unknown, of fear and of being overwhelmed. In this regard, Big Data is no different. The name itself, Big Data, is intimidating.
The amount of digital data in the world is growing at a rate of more than double every two years, faster than Moore's law. It is estimated 1.8 zettabytes of digital data will be created and copied in 2011, according to analyst firm IDC. This is the data equivalent to over 200 billion two-hour long high-definition movies, which would take 47 million years to be played back to back. Or to put it another way, even if every single person in Ireland was able to assist in downloading all that data, it would still take 8,205 days. Turning this sprawling mass of raw data into usable information is the aim of the growing field of data analytics. "Out of chaos, order" might well be the slogan of researchers and enterprises in this field. (Byrne, Mining Big Data for Meaning, 2012)
One problem that consumers face when dealing with technology is an awkward position of being moderately to extremely dependent on technology while simultaneously having very little technical acuity about the technology. For professionals who do not work in the fields directly related to information technology (IT), they may not see how Big Data (BD) is useful at all. 21st century professionals must continually keep abreast of technologies that serve professionals with regard to productivity, efficiency, and market research/analysis. Data analysis is just as important of a field as data acquisition. Big Fortune 500 companies are not data mining to annoy people or to waste time, or even only to create more specific advertisements directed at their consumers' tastes. Data mining and data analysis helps people develop great information and media literacy. Mining Big Data can additionally provide deep insights in trends of consumption, behaviors, usability, and more.
While there is great potential for applications of Big Data, managers should not allow all of their decisions to be dictated or influenced by Big Data. Effective managers in any field make decisions because of a variety of factors. Heavy reliance on any tool is a poor choice. Big Data is a useful reference or guide, but should not be something that managers swear by or need in order to make every minute decision in their professional lives. Big Data is still a fairly new item and concept. As we proceed into the second decade of the 21st century, there is more attention and study of Big Data. There is more education and tools for use of Big Data than in previous decades.
BigDataUniversity.com is an online educational web site offering free courses about big data, and databases. The site is run by the community which includes many IBMers contributing voluntarily to the development of courses, and to enhancing the site. Learn @yourpace, @yourplace from the industry's best is their motto. What is appealing about Big Data University is that most of the courses include hands-on labs that you can perform on the cloud. (Chong, Starting your education in big data, 2012)
Therefore, one way managers can keep from getting overwhelmed by Big Data is to change their perspectives of Big Data as well as taking some time to get a basic education in Big Data. IBM, for example, provides free online courses, tutorials, and general information about Big Data online, which anyone can find and use with a quick Google search. With time, Big Data will become less scary and more manageable by a greater number of people.
Big Data is more than a trend or a gimmick. Managers can try to keep these things in mind when considering how Big Data integrates into their work related decision making process. Manager should aim for a balance in their use of Big Data regarding business decisions. Big Data, like the Internet and video games, can become an addiction, but with a little education, an open perspective, and some moderate detachment, Big Data proves useful to managers without them feeling overwhelmed and without them relying upon it for every decision. Strong managers keep in mind that there are other tools to assist with decision making outside of Big Data. Big Data can supplement those existing tools as well as serve as a tool in of itself.
A wide variety of techniques and technologies has been developed and adapted to aggregate, manipulate, analyze, and visualize big data. These techniques and technologies draw from several fields including statistics, computer science,…