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Big Data Myths and Facts

Big data describes the collection of large volumes of structured and unstructured information. This includes; emails, social media likes and comments, stakeholder conversations and much more. Bill McCabe wrote an article about Big Data stating, “In 2013, big data accounted for a $10.2 billion industry, and is estimated to reach an astonishing $54.3 billion this year.” He explains Big Data doesn’t necessarily involve focusing on using the information. In most cases, Big data involves analysing stakeholder information to make more informed decisions. Here are the Big Data Myths and Facts you need to know.

Big Data Facts

I came across an informative article by Bernard Marr from Forbes magazine which outlines, ‘20 Mind-Boggling Facts Everyone Must Read.’ I’ve shared five of the big data facts that grabbed my attention.

  1. “The volume of data is exploding. More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.”
  2. “Data is growing faster than ever before. By the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.”
  3. “In 2015, a staggering 1 trillion photos were taken and billions of them will be shared online.” Then, by 2017, Forbes predicted people will take nearly 80% of photos on smartphones. How accurate was this presumption? Pretty accurate. A recent article by Business Insider Australia outlined, “People will take 1.2 trillion digital photos this year — thanks to smartphones.”
  4. “By 2020, at least a third of all data will pass through the cloud (a network of servers connected to the Internet). This leads to questions about how secure our data is.” My suggestion, invest in a secure data-management system. For example, our Consultation Manager software is ISO 9001: 2015 and ISO 27001: 2013 accredited to ensure maximum safety.
  5. “At the moment, less than 0.5% of all data is analysed and used, just imagine the potential here.” Think about it, do you make the most of your data? Could you go one step further in using systems such as our Consultation Manager’s reporting operations to increase your business knowledge and improve stakeholder relationships?

Big Data Myths

Now you know the facts, but what are the big data myths you need to look out for? We know we shouldn’t believe everything we read. Earlier this year, Bernard followed his original big data facts with an article about the ‘5 Massive ‘Big Data’ Myths Most People Believe – But Shouldn’t.‘ I’ve shared a bunch of his thinking to help keep you on track with your big data management.

Myth #1 – It’s all about size

Characteristics of Big Data includes; Size, volume and variety. Data is rapidly increasing and the more quickly you can process the data, the more up-to-date it’s likely to be. But there’s a danger to this. Data can come in diverse forms. This means quickly analysing a large amount of information can lead to errors. It’s particularly the case when trying to analyse unverified information, or old data or information based on a limited number of resources. So what’s the lesson here? Take the time to capture and store knowledge. If you have a lot of complicated information to store, it could be worth investing in a data management system. You can read about our importing service to find out more about importing large amounts of data.

Myth #2 – It will tell you what will happen next

Image if we had a crystal ball to tell us what we needed to do to achieve our organisational goals. Better still, what if we could find out how long it will take us to achieve these objectives while minimising hurdlesScarily enough, it’s come to the point where many organisations believe Big Data is the answer to predicting the future. But don’t let this fool you. Bernard warns, “Data doesn’t actually tell us anything that is certain – and anyone who tells you it does, is trying to sell you something.”

Big Data stems from taking what happened in the past to foresee what will happen in the future. These predictions are based on probability so there will always be a margin for error. You can assume the more data you have, the more accurate the prediction but think of curve-ball situationsPolitical, legal, technological, economic socio-cultural and environmental impacts (all factors from the PESTEL model) can all lead to inaccurate results.

Myth #3 – Big Data is only an issue if you are in IT

Remember when computers were first introduced? In organisations, they were the sole domain of the IT department. As time passed, computers became affordable and now, using computers for daily operations is the norm. Same principle applies to Big Data. As long as employees have access to the right information, just about anyone can use the knowledge to become more efficient at their jobImproving access and giving the right people the right data and analytics is the best path to success.

How does your organisation manage Big Data?

So here comes the final question. Did you know our three big data myths? Do you use data management software, analyse and report on your Big Data findings? How often do you update the data and analyse the information? Do you use reporting tools to make informed business decisions? Could you use some extra help making the most from your Big Data?

Ask yourself these types of questions to assess if you’re making the most out of your information. Contact our customer success team if you want to find out more about what you can do to effectively manage, upload, store and report Big Data.

Jessica Goerke (MO)

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