The term big data is used to describe the volume of data – that can be structured, unstructured or a mix of both – that a business receives on a daily basis. The importance of it derives not from the amount of data itself. What is really relevant is what organization do with such information. Big data analysis is the base for informed decisión making and strategy development.

Big Data: where does the name come from

We now call it Big Data and the term is somehow new, but companies have been collecting and storing very big amounts of information for quite a long time. The industry analyst, Doug Laney, back in the 2000s created the definition of Big Data around the now very will known three Vs: Volume, velocity and variety.


There are many sources that companies collect information from. These include machine to machine data, social media or business transactions amongst others. Storage for such large amount of info was a problem that new technologies have solved very efficiently.


Data is created and transmitted at a previously unknown speed, and it has to be dealt with in due time. Almost in real time.


Data is not uniform, but it comes in all sorts of formats. Databases with well structured numeric data share their space with text documents, videos, audio files, financial transactions and even pictures. All of them need to be analysed properly.
But there are two more parameters to consider when we talk about Big Data:
First, variability: the data flow varies, it´s not consistent and it experiments periodic peaks. There are daily events, seasonal input and event-triggered data that are a real challenge to manage. Almost impossible to analyse thoroughly if the data is unstructured.
Secondly, the complexity of data increases from day to day. But, even so, we need to link information in order to extract conclusions that serve our purposes.

Why bother, then? What can Big Data give us in exchange for such effort?

Information is power. This motto has been true for a very long time. Ever since the concept of power was born. If we consider the amount of data that is created and stored on the internet day after day, we can have an idea of how much power we are talking about. But only a very small percentage of that data is analysed. Companies that have the resources to access that information in an adequate form can make better decisions. Meaning they can increase their sales, their profits and therefore grant better access to the information for themselves.
A good management of Big Data can:

  1. reduce costs
  2. minimize time loss
  3. optimize offerings and help develop new products
  4. help decision making
  5. identify causes of failure and defects almost in real time
  6. generate taylor made promotions at the point of sale, based on buying habits
  7. recalculate risks in minutes
  8. detect fraud

Visit DES Madrid to learn more about Big Data and how to benefit from it.