In the last week, have you made journeys with a switched on mobile phone, posted, liked or uploaded a photo on Facebook? Have you searched the internet? Watched videos on Youtube?
Then you are data, a small part of big data in fact.
Does your company have a website? Does it do any marketing or sales?
Then it’s generating big data, the hundreds or thousands of data points that define any one journey through a website quickly accumulate.
What data exists about your company outside of your firewall, and how this could correlate to your internal business operations? For example product reviews, discussions, web articles… do they discuss concepts that are also contained within your production & CRM systems?
And what can we do with this goldmine of information? Well it’s different for every company, and on first thoughts you may think big data means big budgets and big projects and therefore restricted to big companies, but this really isn’t the case.
To quote the Cambridge Institute of Manufacturing, “If you are an established SME and not thinking about these issues, it's time to jump on the Big Data train, for if you don’t the danger is you’ll be left sitting in the sidings while newer start-ups and bigger players pull out of the station and power ahead.”
Businesses are understanding how they are perceived by their customers, sensing demand in time to fulfil it, tracking performance of their products through sensors and detecting fraud through transaction correlation, whether it’s a vehicle rental company being aware of and addressing a Facebook storm among its customers, an online retailer tracking spikes in sales for unexpected products due to current global events and proactive pushing similar products, or a tractor manufacturer notifying its customers of potential mechanical problems before they happen.
It’s a new age of communication we’re living in. Individuals are starting to understand that their thoughts, movements and behaviours are being stored as a collection of ones and zeros. Machines need to get used to being monitored more carefully and maintained before they break down. And of organisations need to understand both the opportunity and responsibility this big data presents. Enjoy responsibly!