“Bigger Data” is On its Way. What Does This Mean for You?

April 30th, 2014

From the dawn of civilization through 2003, the world generated five exabytes of data. We now create that in 48 hours. And by 2020, we’ll create 50 times that.

As we multiply data, we also multiply its complexity and the need to make sense of it. Companies with access to more data than their competitors – and the ability to implement it – can gain a substantial advantage. You need the capability and talent to keep pace, navigating from data to knowledge and then to an overriding growth strategy.

The Numbers

It’s easy to see how rapidly big data has become bigger when you consider that 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the past two years. The need to store, sift and analyze it has led to massive investments in data centers across the globe. There are 2.9 million “server farms” in the U.S. alone, thanks to Google, Microsoft and Facebook, who have spent billions building out their facilities.

  • Cloud computing traffic is expected to more than quadruple by 2017. At that point, it will represent nearly two-thirds of total workloads.
  • Another significant driver is the Internet of Things. This is the term for wireless communication between apps, vehicles and other interconnected machines and objects. By 2020, there will be 26 billion connected devices that are not PCs or phones – up from one billion in 2009.

What This Means for your Business

Data is only as useful as what you can do with it. This calls for a smart, cost-effective strategy for handling these massive amounts of information. It will require employing tools like Hadoop, an open-source framework used to process large-scale data sets. You need to hire people with the right skillsets to staff your industry-leading data team.

Dense Versus Sparse Data

An emerging competitive need is differentiating your dense data from your sparse data. While most businesses are becoming adept at gathering dense data, sparse data is the most useful in terms of overall productivity.

  • Dense data enables you to know a great deal about any one customer. It’s often gleaned via surveys. With sparse data, all you get is a few informational points on any single person, but the bottom line is quality versus quantity. Aggregately, sparse data empowers companies to accurately analyze consumer trends that drive their competitive success. For instance, Netflix uses sparse data to nail trends in movie viewers’ preferences and plan their product lines accordingly.
  • Companies that effectively mine and utilize sparse data are more productive. Specifically, one standard deviation of higher utilization of big data technologies is associated with 1 percent to 3 percent higher productivity, and one standard deviation of lower utilization is associated with 1 percent to 3 percent lower productivity. This amounts to potentially very large differences between firms at the extremes.
  • It’s not just having more data that matters. The more kinds of information you gather is what leads to better results.

Are you where you need to be when it comes to your big data staffing needs for today – and tomorrow? To learn more, read our related posts or contact a data analytics recruiting expert from Select Group today.

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