Harnessing Advanced Business Analytics

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Harnessing Advanced Business Analytics

It wasn't long ago that a company's competitive advantage was based on its data.  The more information it could gather about its business, its customers, and its competitors, the more successful it could become.  But today, small businesses as well as large corporations are drowning in so much data that it is difficult for anyone to make sense of it. 

It's only going to get more challenging.  According to Gartner Research, over the next five years, the world's available data will increase by 800 percent, and only 20 percent of it will be structured data from transactions.  The remaining 80 percent will consist of unstructured data, such as e-mails and comments on social networks like Facebook.

Hype Circle for Big Data, 2012

Hype Cycle for Big Data, 2012

 

Priority Matrix for Big Data

Priority Matrix for Big Data

As a result, competitive advantage has shifted to advanced data analytics.  This is the capability that lets a business consistently make profitable decisions based on big data sets.  For a typical large company, a big data set is typically on the order of many terabytes in size. 

According to Jean Paul Isson and Jesse Harriott, the authors of the book Win with Advanced Business Analytics,1 big data, as defined by IBM, has three characteristics:

  1. It has volume.  Big data consists of massive amounts of data, beyond what any individual can comprehend or any conventional tool can process.
  2. It has velocity.  Big data is constantly flowing into your organization at a very high speed. 
  3. It has variety.  Big data sources can be structured or unstructured, and can include everything from keywords searched on a Web site to data from GPS devices.

To profit from big data, the data needs to be identified, structured, collected, and analyzed.  An obvious example of a company that uses big data strategically is Google...

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