Big data: A business opportunity and a business challenge

There’s no question that the exponential growth of data—commonly referred to as “big data”—will be a transformative force in IT. In fact, many of the big names in the IT industry are already predicting that big data will one day be as important to business as the Internet is today.

What is still left to be decided is exactly how businesses will respond to the transformative effects of big data. Of course, more data means more insights. Companies that can capture and act on these insights will be in a great position to serve their customers better, identify inefficiencies, and reduce risk. In short, they will gain an important business advantage over their competitors.

At the same time, big data doesn’t just mean more data: it also represents different types of data. Data doesn’t just come in easy-to-process structured formats like numerical databases anymore. It also comes in unstructured formats such as text documents, which can be much more difficult for organizations to draw insights from.

Finally, data is also being created at a much higher speed than ever before, as sensors, smart meters, and other connected devices contribute a constant stream of new data to the mix.

These “three Vs” of big data—volume, variety and velocity—represent the dual nature of big data: it is both an opportunity and a challenge. IT organizations that prepare for big data by putting the right data management solutions in place will bring in unprecedented amounts of actionable insights for their companies.

On the other hand, IT organizations that fail to prepare properly and continue to rely on old-fashioned data management techniques are likely to be swept away by the exponential growth of data going on in the world today. As their systems are completely overwhelmed with data, they will find it difficult to extract any insights whatsoever from their data, causing them to fall behind in a new world where working smarter is a business imperative.

So, how can IT organizations make sure they’re ready to capitalize on the opportunities provided by big data? Simply put, they need to make data management a top priority within their organization. This means dedicating the resources needed to implement a top-of-the-line solution built specifically with the challenges and opportunities of big data in mind, and then making sure that the new solution becomes an integrated part of the organization.

It’s no exaggeration to say that how well an IT organization prepares for big data will go a long way toward determining its future success. So, how will your organization prepare itself?

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