Big Data: Navigating The Three Vs

Big data is a small phrase that describes a huge collection of information that actually means something if it gets processed. This is where web hosting comes in – exciting right?  

Gartner’s ideas about big data can be summed up in one sentence;
“Big data” is high-volume, -velocity and -variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.”  
In short, take information and break it into bite-sized chunks to digest. Although words like ‘big data’ and ‘cloud’ are quite nebulous, they do represent an opportunity – we just have to figure out what that is.
Big Data
Think of data as sand on a beach, and let’s say that a single grain can tell you the date a user clicked a mouse. One grain on its own doesn’t say much besides the fact that the event occurred, but an entire mound of grains can say much more than that. The problem is sorting through each grain to find what sort of information it can offer.
Take that mound and turn it into an entire beach. You may possibly have the secrets to the universe somewhere in all that data, but you would have to find each piece of a giant puzzle to put together. Big data has the potential to help companies and individuals improve, economize and accelerate the way we do things by using databases and software to sort through each grain once there is somewhere to put it.
Cloud Hosting  
Cloud hosting (aka virtual private servers) have become a mainstream solution to the problem of big data. By storing these massive dunes of information (did you catch the sand reference?) in the cloud, it becomes easily accessible and sortable. You will be able to reach up into the cloud and pull out the information you need to analyze. This becomes as simple as a few clicks once you have created the necessary infrastructure.
For example, Intel – a major player in SaaS (Software as a Service) – has made big money out of its use of big data as a way to “predict and adjust product positioning and pricing on the company’s websites” according to Computer Business Review. According to Intel, their “work with advanced analytics on supply, demand and pricing has resulted in revenue optimization of $264 million for 2014.”.
So what?
Return to Gartner’s concept about the three Vs: volume, velocity and variety, and you can see ways in which you can apply them to our own business and marketing strategies for businesses big and small.
According to Inc. Magazine, big businesses aren’t the only ones taking advantage of big data. Small, medium and large businesses are “successfully mining big data”. In fact, they are using their access to information in a multitude of ways, including;

  • Cross-referencing internal and external information-pricing histories
  • Anticipating clients’ needs
  • Analyzing customer traffic patterns to increase revenue by understanding customers’ behavior
  • Reducing costs by eliminating inefficiencies
  • Improving service offerings with new knowledge
  • Giving employees new tools to perform their jobs efficiently and effectively

Really, this just sounds like good business tactics, but technology has created an environment in which we can perform these tasks with a mountain of evidence to support our theories rather than using the good old ‘guess and check’ method for business strategy.
The Internet of Things has created data for just about anything you’re looking for. It has been estimated that 2013’s internet traffic was nearly 30 times the size of the entire internet in 2010. Cisco estimates that this growth is not a fad and that this influx of data will increase tenfold by 2019. Businesses can take advantage of this if they keep in mind that, statistically speaking, it is much better to have a larger sample to pull trends from. The same principle can be applied to big data – the more the better really, as long as you have somewhere to put it.
Much like the volume of your data, you have to control the rate in which you receive it. The pace of the modern world places a priority on ‘now’. To be effective and efficient, businesses have to be sure that their data is analyzed quickly. This is precisely the reason that millions of dollars are spent every year on the aggregation and automatic utilization of a constant stream of data. An IBM ad once explained that people wouldn’t cross the street using a snapshot from five minutes ago, so the same could be said as to why businesses would make decisions based on old data.
Forbes once wrote that a major principle of big data is “when you can, keep everything”. This is because you will never know when that information will become very valuable. The more cross-references you have to compare trends and historical markers, the better you can forecast the future. This can amount to quite a lot of data that you don’t particularly want to risk moving. Whenever data is moved from one location to another, it is inevitable that some will be lost. This is why creating a lasting relationship with a cloud host is a valuable asset, creating an environment where you can amass a variety of valuable information that can be used to build a better business.

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