As the title would suggest,is big – very big in fact. The description ‘big’ barely does it justice. The massive volumes of data gathered from smartphones, vehicle sensors and clicks and keystrokes from keyboards and web servers are difficult to fully comprehend. IBM maintains that as much as 90 per cent of this big data has been collected in the last two years alone as technology and processing capabilities have improved. We’re now in a position where it’s estimated that some 2.5 quintillion bytes of additional information are collected and added to the mix every day. But having the information to hand is one thing: knowing what to do with it is another thing entirely. How can you get the best value out of these enormous amounts of raw data? How can derive insights that can truly benefit businesses? The only way to get a clear answer to those questions is to listen to the opinions of an expert. That’s why online network, Terra, sat down with Anukool Lakhina, founder and CEO of Guavus, a California-based software company to thrash out some of the most-pressing issues. Here’s what he told Terra.
What’s the fundamental purpose of big data?
“It’s the promise of “knowing the now.” If your business can gain insight from data-logging sensors, you can distil that knowledge into timely, intelligent decisions and trigger the right action at the right time. Or, put another way, today you no longer use data to see what happened; instead you use it to see what’s happening in real time, which allows you to pinpoint your marketing, improve service, reduce costs and save time. The possibilities are endless.”
How can you get your hands on this data?
“First, figure out what data you already have and what you’d like to have. That covers all of your software-as-a-service applications (including CRM programs such as Salesforce.com), Excel spreadsheets, partner information, sales receipts and any other devices that collect information. Then look for ways to connect data sets together to produce more compelling and timely insights.”
“An easy way to do this is to start with one problem you want to solve, something as basic as boosting sales on Tuesdays. By setting specific goals for an initial project you’ll be able to home in on the data sets you’ll need to pull together. Once you’ve identified and combined the data–say, online sales and social media postings–automate these processes wherever possible to help your business sharpen its reaction time.”