The DataBoost Nexus #6

man sitting on mountain cliff facing white clouds rising one hand at golden hour

The DataBoost Nexus #6

Harnessing Big Data

Big data:

“…A collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”

Properly defined, the term “big data” isn’t quite as imposing as it initially seems. More importantly, now that we know what big data is and the potential it provides, the most important question becomes how do we put it to use?

Different firms are going to use big data in different ways, but the same data repositories can also be put to use in completely different ways. For example, suppose I have access to a catalog of every gasoline transaction made throughout the country over the last year. What could I do with this information?

Data Has Multiple Uses

First, I could determine the average price of gasoline in America, and the average amount purchased per transaction. Easy enough. Or I could analyze repeat transactions to reveal how many Americans spend more than $100 on gasoline per month. I could even compare all these purchases against known state populations to determine the average amount spent on gasoline per person per state.

The point is that too often, when considering functions for big data, project managers tend to think that the type of information a company has access to determines what kind of data output is possible. This is not always true. A single big data source can provide a long list of possible areas of study which, while related, can be quite different.

This is why choosing the appropriate big data source for your project is crucial – not because the project is defined by the data, but because the data can be implemented and analyzed in so many different ways.

Where Can I Find Big Data?

Naturally, this begs the question – what are the best sources for big data? Next week, we work on answering that question.