What is big data and how is it used in a digital business solution? In this fast-paced video, Thomas Erl (best-selling author of “A Field Guide to Digital Transformation” and many other books) uses animation to explain how big data can be used to make a digital business more intelligent and to help improve its customer-centricity.
Big data is a field of practice falls under the data science umbrella, alongside other fields like machine learning and AI. The term “big data” comes from the fact that its focus is on analyzing really, really big collections of data. What makes it so powerful is that it can grab large of amounts of data that come from completely different sources and still make sense of it. In other words, it can take a bunch of datasets that, on their own, may have little value to us, and then combine and filter them to produce meaningful and insightful analysis results.
For example, a big data system can find patterns or trends in data that we want to learn about, such as how much more ice cream should we order when the temperature increases.
It can even discover hidden patterns that reveal new insights we weren’t expecting, such as when the temperature increases, there is actually a decline in certain ice cream flavors compared to others.
A big data system can also provide recommendations and predictions based on its analysis results, like here are the most recommended ice cream flavors we should stock and here are the predicted sales of each flavor for each upcoming day, based on the current weather forecast.
The data collected by a big data system can be created by humans, such as our customers or even our own employees, or it can be created by machines, such as IoT sensors, GPS tracking devices or data logs created by our applications or servers.
All of what big data gives us provides foundational data intelligence that we can use to help and benefit our digital business, mostly in support of human decision-making.
Larger and more progressive digital businesses will likely need to complement their big data systems with more sophisticated data science technology, like machine learning and AI.
This is especially the case when:
• our digital business solution needs deeper data intelligence that can continue to evolve and improve over time
• our digital business needs the ability to automate decision-making
Big data establishes an important data science foundation that we can use and build upon to achieve our digital transformation goals.
But regardless of what else we may need, it is important to acknowledge that big data technology and skills are essential in most digital businesses. This is because we typically need to go outside of our organizational boundary to collect a lot of new data from a range of external sources to understand more about our market, our community, our customers and our competitors.
All of this enhances our data intelligence which is what we then use to navigate our business.
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