Published: Thu 2nd February 2017
Read Time: 3 minutes
Introduction to Big Data
What Exactly Is it?
The biggest buzz word of 2016 and 2017 is Big Data. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, 90% of all the world’s data has been created in the past two years. It is crucial to prepare yourself and your company with knowledge and tools to collect and analyse these vast amounts of data.
Big data are high volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets. Data comes in all shapes and sizes, meaning that it is structured and unstructured. In order to start benefitting from big data, one must face two major challenges.
The first challenge one has to overcome is the ability to store huge amounts of data. Most companies store their data in data warehouses – which have bad interaction paths and static structures. A shift towards data lakes, however, would allow the storage of structured and unstructured data. Data lakes are better at performing fast queries and allow cross-source navigation, which is crucial for good data analysis.
Analysing that huge amount of data is the second challenge. As it is very hard to find patterns in a big data set, the first thing to do, before analysing, is split the data into clusters. Using programmes like Clustrix and Hadoop will help overcome this challenge. After the data has been split, the next thing to do is spot patterns. Instead of using classical statistics, using machine learning will help identify complex nonlinear patterns. Machine learning spots apparently disorganised patterns without sticking to a predetermined regression curve. After finding interesting patterns in data, one must represent them visually. Visual analytics tools like Tableau will make it very simple to present your findings. Tableau takes all sorts of data and allows you to make all kinds of interesting data maps and charts.
Using big data is estimated to have an impact of $15 trillion on the global economy, by 2030. Data analysis is becoming one the most desired work skills. Be sure to start developing your analytical skills