This is the third post in a five-part blog series focused on future trends in business.

Technology is an ever-increasing field, especially in today’s world.  The advancements we are currently experiencing are greater than the entirety of society’s past.  By 2020, the amount of information available via digital gateways will grow from the current five zettabytes to 50 zettabytes (in perspective, one zettabyte is equal to 10^12th gigabytes, or over 15 billion flash drives).  Subsequently, for almost all global actions, there are digital footprints left behind—every Google search in China, use of a Nest home system in the United States, or activation of a trending smartphone app in South Africa leaves behind data and information.  Enter, big data.

According to Lisa Arthur, a Forbes contributor, “Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”  More simply put, big data “refers to the collection of all data and our ability to use it to our advantage across a wide range of areas, including business.” 

Big data is defined by three key characteristics: high volume, high velocity, and high variety.  Through these traits, improved healthcare, better response to natural disasters, and proactive crime prevention all become possible and offer a plethora of metrics to evaluate scenarios.  In China, efforts to apply big data to solve a serious smog and pollution problem are ramping up.  In the United States, big data is being integrated into Chicago to identify potential crimes and put an early stop to violence.  These same principles apply to the world of business, as well.

 Pertaining to global business, big data leader, Bernard Marr, highlights four major areas of use: data as an asset, better market and customer intelligence collection, improved internal efficiency and operations, and improved customer experiences by building big data into product offerings.  Furthermore, the use of big data can help organizations consistently arrive at desired business outcomes.  As consumers expect more and more from business, big data gives firms a chance to tailor their services to each unique customer, providing them with the best possible experience.  This extends further to making shipping efficient and effective, streamlining the process for both sides of the transaction.  India is a prime example of this, using big data techniques to better control its massive population and infrastructure issues by establishing specific data sets to improve its water, food, and health ideals.  Ultimately, big data can lead to larger revenues and improved operations for many businesses around the world.

As society continues to experience Moore’s Law, big data will become increasingly relevant with time.  Big data has been deemed to have huge potential, and business should set goals to capitalize on its value in all ways possible.

Click here for the second post in this series.

Click here for the fourth post in this series.

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