What is Big Data?

Submitted by: Ashley Speagle

There are three defining qualities of Big Data, according to IT research and advisory company Gartner: Big Data is “high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety.”

It’s one of the biggest technology trends that impacts every business because, as echoed throughout headlines, every business is now digital. And it has a direct effect on the future of business collaboration.

Why Big Data’s Exploding
Big Data isn’t completely brand new. We’ve always transmitted and analyzed large amounts of data from customer surveys, social media pages, online shopping behaviors and more.

However, now we’re capturing data at a faster rate. The IoT sparked a surge in connectivity, and that variety of connected points — wearables, cars, apps, sensors — reveal more about human behaviors than ever.

The other defining difference is a large amount of today’s data is raw and unstructured, which means to gain anything from it we need to assign it meaning. The technology to not only produce and collect data but also manage and analyze it (like the scalability and security of the cloud) is widespread and continuing to get easier to use.

Big Data’s Business Value
By moving from harvesting to dissecting Big Data, now businesses can gain real value. Data mining (identifying trends and patterns) yields insights into a business’s pain points that may have never been exposed before.

Analyzing worker behaviors, output and operations, businesses make better decisions to improve productivity and efficiency. Business intelligence from Big Data even helps propel companies toward innovation and helps predict consumer behaviors and industry trends.

Whoever mines the most value from Big Data will have the biggest competitive edge, but the challenge of turning data into knowledge requires a complete culture change.

A Collaborative Culture Shift
Everyone in the business is realizing the value of Big Data for customer insights and demonstrating their ROI. The accessibility of self-service data mining and the customer-centric transformation of all roles within a company is giving rise to data-driven organizations.

In order for a business to be successful with data, however, a collaborative culture change is required.

Managing Big Data can overwhelm a single department, which is why data mining requires greater teamwork and sharing. Plus, cross-functional collaboration better bridges gaps in information and helps everyone construct more meaningful connections out of data.

This culture shift depends upon the creation of new workflows and tools that expand across departments, closer collaboration with leadership and company-wide alignment on goals and priorities. No single line of business can fully extract the value of Big Data alone, and not a single company can afford to ignore these technology trends and changes as businesses soon compete with information.

Learn More
Big Data is complex and still evolving in terms of strategies and applications. Learn more about this topic with the following resources:

  1. Learn what the biggest barriers are to unlocking value from Big Data in PGi’s free eBook. Download “The Future of Business Collaboration 2015 Edition” now for Big Data commentary from Edelman’s Global Managing Director of Strategic Growth.
  2. See how PGi’s leading collaboration solutions help build collaborative cultures for data-driven organizations.
  3. Not all collaboration is productive. Read this blog post from PGi Founder Boland Jones on the difference between constant connectivity and productive collaboration.

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