Big data is a major trend in large businesses, but one that is steadily trickling down to smaller companies. At its simplest, big data represents huge data sets, but also constant streams of data, perhaps coming from retail stores, Internet of Things sensors, smart home devices and so on. Whatever the data, if it is too big to fit in Excel or a regular database, then it can be considered ‘big data’.
How is big data stored?
Businesses can still access big data using special types of database, such as MongoDB or Hadoop, and applications or containers like Kubernetes and Docker. These are much-talked about IT tools, but are no more complex to create applications from than traditional products, only the scale has changed.
The data usually resides in the cloud to prevent overwhelming local servers. The big data tools are often combined to analyse information as it comes in live, to look for spikes or abnormalities in an otherwise regular data stream. That trigger could be a rise in sales of one product, the sudden trading in stocks of one firm, or fault data from a few of millions of products in circulation. A report would be sent to whoever needs it, alerting them to intervene or investigate further. Big data can also be stored up for daily or regular batch processing creating a manageable report from terabytes of data.
Big data meets small business
Small businesses can find this big data in the strangest of places, be it decades worth of manual customer records that have been digitised, the launch of a new smart home meter reading product for an electricity provider, or working with a partner social media company that grants access to its data stream.
The key to understanding and gaining business value from big data is to ensure that your company can manage it correctly, perform useful functions on the data, and ensure that timely reports are sent to the right people for action. While the data may be big, there is no need for it to overwhelm a company.
Through our range of hosting, software development and SaaS tools, we can help a business understand the benefits of big data and teach them how to benefit from its use. Get in touch to find out how we can help.