20 November 2017

What can Big Data really do?

Initially, when we started talking about Big Data, it was considered that this was a modern technological term that would only be spoken for some time, until the next great technological success emerged. That was not the case, and right now, many of the technological buzzwords have Big Data as the driving force.

The term Big Data is as broad as its name implies. We live in an Age in which, every year and a half, the same amount of data already created by humankind is generated at all times.

Before mathematical formulas and advanced techniques of probabilities and statistics were executed manually, dealing, of course, with a reduced capacity of variables. With high-capacity and high-speed processors, it was possible to transition and perform all of that analysis to specially developed software to transform that data into powerful strategic information in any organization.

With the Internet everything has changed. New technologies have been created with functionalities capable of capturing real-world and physical data and at the same time converting them into digital data (IoT). It has been generating volumes of information never seen before. As an example, of the 16 million Internet users in 1995, we moved to 3.8 billion in 2017. In 1998 an average of around 500,000 searches per day were carried out. Today, every 60 seconds, more than 3.8 million searches are carried out, totaling a trillion searches per year worldwide. Per minute, Facebook has inserted about 3.3 million posts and through WhatsApp are sent 44.4 million messages.

We are constantly generating data when we simply carry our smartphones equipped with GPS, when we communicate with our friends, through social networks or even when we make purchases online. More and more we leave a digital trail in everything we do.

What can Big Data really do?

The possibilities of applying Big Data go far beyond the customer experience. It is possible, for example, to use this technology to increase the security of IT infrastructure, streamline processes, improve Return on Investment (ROI) of marketing actions and reduce costs, focus on new product development and optimized offerings, decisions smarter and market trends before the competition, which can mean the whole difference between success and failure in the corporate universe.

The importance of Big Data does not revolve around the amount of data companies have, but of what they do with them.

According to a recent IDC study, the Big Data market is expected to grow 600% above IT by 2018. This situation is mainly due to the fact that more and more data are being generated in different ways: images and videos, photos uploaded to social networking, instant messaging, and recorded phone calls.

This unstructured form can easily be placed in organized tables, but it is still necessary to understand this data. For this reason, some Big Data projects often use state-of-the-art analytics, involving artificial intelligence and automatic learning, for image recognition or natural language processing, for example - to learn how to detect patterns much faster and more reliably than humans. In order to respond to this new paradigm, several technologies have been created and many others are still under development, so that the growing need for interpretation of existing data can be addressed.

An example of this is the fact that many organizations use these data analysis tools to retain their customers. The system identifies old customers who have stopped going to their stores and then performs an analysis of the preferences of each one of them.

This breakthrough will allow the company to create and target customized campaigns, offering special and distinct promotions to each customer, while encouraging them to return to their stores. However, every marketing action should be accompanied by social media monitoring tools, because if a campaign does not have the expected effect or, worse than that, it generates negative feedback, that failure must be detected quickly, so that the company can take corrective measures.

So a company that owns these analytical tools is ready to achieve its ultimate goal: to succeed! Does your organization already incorporate data analysis tools?

Opinion article published in media Computerworld – November 20, 2017