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Tips for getting a handle on your big data

Tips for getting a handle on your big data

Big Data has become a popular buzzword within the IT industry.  It may have you thinking:  Is this something I should be paying more attention to?

First, let’s start with the definition.  Big Data is not just a lot of data, it refers specifically to data sets that are so large it’s impossible to capture, store, process and analyse using traditional software and database solutions.  

Big Data Management has become the serious business of organising, administering and governing large volumes of data to ensure high quality data that’s easily accessible by big data applications for various types of business intelligence.

It can all get a little overwhelming, and that’s why we always recommend starting with the following 5 questions:

What are you trying to achieve?
Step one to successful big data management is understanding what your big data goals are.  This will help you define exactly what data you need, how much data you need, how frequently you’re going to need it and where you’re going to collect it from.  Without a clear vision, you will likely end up collecting the wrong data that does not align to any of your core business strategies. 

How are you going to keep your data secure?
Security access controls, both logical and physical, are key to ensuring that your data does not fall into the wrong hands.  Data security needs to be top of mind for all of those involved in the big data management process.  It cannot be an afterthought, it needs to be integrated into every step from data collection to data analysis and output.      

How are you going to link up your different data sets?
When shopping for big data software, always confirm that it’s able to integrate with a broad range of solutions, particularly software solutions already in use within your business.  This will make it easier to interlink data from different internal and external data sources.  The more data you have in one place, the better your chance of running a broad spectrum of analytics.    

How will you maintain data quality?
Quality checks deserve the same level of attention as data security. Start by taking a serious look at your data collection processes and ensure that you’re only collecting the most relevant data from credible sources.  Normalisation of data is also very important as this provides uniformity, particularly when collecting data from various sources.  And then you will also require regular “data cleaning” processes to ensure that you’re always working from a solid base.    

Do you have the right people and the right infrastructure?

Big data training for your staff is going to be essential, but it’s also important to remember that you don’t need to do all of this on your own.  There are many expert companies out there who specialise in big data analytics, cloud hosting solutions and the day-to-day running of big data platforms.  You can lean on the experience and skills of these industry specialists to help fill your gaps within this space.    

If you’re embarking on a big data journey of your own, Analyze can assist not only with defining your big data requirements and strategy, but also by managing the selection and implementation of big data hardware, software and processes. Call us on 021 447 5696 or get in touch by using the contact form on our contact page here or visit our LinkedIn page here.

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