Big data analytics systems are becoming increasingly central to the way companies operate. O’Reilly Radar contributor Edd Dumbill recently noted that while the usage of advanced data management systems was pioneered at internet-based businesses, it will soon be relevant at companies of all sizes and various industries, helping to solve a number of problems.
Big data is both widespread and adaptable. The definition of “big data” is very broad, encompassing large sets of figures in various formats which, despite its massive scale, can and should be collected and harnessed at high speed. New methods of capture and storage mean it is increasingly applicable in every industry.
According to Dumbill, the first ambitious big data users come from the internet hierarchy, with giants like Facebook and Google harnessing the technology before their peers. Such companies have ready-made stores of information on tap, with all of their customer interactions occurring in the digital realm, where information is easy to capture. Dumbill noted that the digital-first model has become more common, to the point that digital information capture has become easier and, therefore, more widespread.
Dumbill suggested that, rather than a niche tech area, analytics tools will soon be the backbone of digital connection between companies. He stated that firms becoming more heavily digital have already increased speed and effectiveness of operations. From finance departments taking new factors into account when considering transactional data to human resources managers changing the hiring process, he explained that there are both current and future opportunities to be had with strong big data programs. These could affect a number of varied public and private sector organizations.
Public works example
Big data is solving problems that, a few years ago, were not considered analytics matters. According to GigaOM, the town of South Bend, Indiana used analytics tools to change the way it manages sewage. The source noted that analyzing waste water through new sensors proved a far more economical way of optimizing the system compared to a complete rebuild of the sewers.
The sewer system has its precedent in traffic lights, GigaOM reported. Town officials told the source that the management systems in place for the waste are patterned after the computers that control the flow of traffic, a type of system that has existed in cities for several years. The ever-evolving nature of what can be measured has changed the way both public and private sector entities manage efficiency.