Technology is often creating new buzz words. The latest to hit the tech world is “big data”
IBM estimates that 90 per cent of the data in the world today has been created in the past two years. The explosion in popularity of smartphones has helped fuel this growth, with sites and services such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter helping to create more and more online data.
Companies are continually gathering information about their customers which added to growth in ecommerce, which generates purchase records, digital images, IT logs, GPS signal data and videos, and you aren’t even coming close to the concept that is big data. It’s a massive, multistructured pool of information which could be invaluable if you know what to do with it.
It does however differ from traditional “structured data” such a bank records and financial info which we were used to in the past. The world of smart phones, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube had created a new type of data, “unstructured data”. When the two types are married we begin to see the concept of “big data”.
Big data can be used to grow a business obtaining insights into your customers and their behaviour, forecasting market trends that you can take advantage of. Companies such as IBM and EMC are turning to big with IBM earlier this year announcing the purchase of software firm Vivisimo. Ireland has the chance to become a major player in this area but only if we move fast.
New companies are springing up to create and commercialise data models around different types of information, for example creating apps and analytic models to look at customer sentiment and churn.
If Ireland is able to embrace big data and help companies to monetise their data a whole new sector could develop within Ireland. The key is to ensure an adequate workforce able provide the skills needed to build up a big data industry in Ireland Colleges have already begun working with the industry to identify what the education system can do to prepare graduates for the world of big data.
There is another element to big data that could benefit Irish companies – security.
According to a recent security survey, a significant number of Irish firms don’t take the threat of online crime seriously. A recent survey carried out by Deloitte in association with EMC, found that although a third of those surveyed had experienced between one and five security breaches in the past year, fewer than half of firms said it was a priority in terms of risk to the organisation.
Big data could be used help cut down on levels of fraud and help to alleviate attacks. Companies need to turn to big data and its advances to aid quicker reactions to threats and anyone unknown dangers. It allows business too look at their entire IT set-up to see what if anything out of the ordinary is happening.
Several attacks have been made on high profile firms in recent months namely LinkedIn. Although it’s difficult to prevent these attacks finding out as quick as possible that such an intrusion has occurred is extremely important.
Big data can be used not only to grow your business but also extracting insights into your existing customers and their behaviour while also predicting markets trends and even enhancing your online security.