Here's How to Not Get Lost in Big Data

Here’s How to Not Get Lost in Big Data
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Did you know that 95% of businesses report difficulties in managing their data? Yup, nearly all businesses out there are struggling, but who are the 5%? Well, the 5% of companies with effective data management practices are the ones that are at the top of the market with the highest competitive advantage. It's as simple as that. If you're looking to join that 5% with the help of big data, you've come to the right place.

It's no surprise that data management, specifically big data management, is often neglected by companies. After all, we're talking about terabytes of data, which is overwhelming, to say the least. The truth is that the more difficult the data is to manage, the more it will pay off in the long run

No matter how challenging it may seem, there's no such thing as "impossible". Big data interpretation can be quite a task. However, if you follow a few guidelines, the data review process will be as smooth as possible. Keep reading to find out how to not get lost in big data and bring your business up to the top 5%!

Determine your goals

Everything you do in your company must be related to a goal. Blindly looking at data, especially big data, without knowing what you're looking for will only lead to lots of wasted time and frustration. 

Before delving into all of the data your company has in store, determine what your goals are. Discuss these goals with your team and make sure they're properly structured. This will be your guide in determining the type and quantity of data that you need to collect. Also, create a schedule for each task and set deadlines for reaching your goals.

Identify the sources

Organization is key when it comes to big data. If you have terabytes of data from different sources in a single pile, it's pretty much impossible to draw any insights from it.

It's important to know where each piece of information comes from. This will help to not only organize the data but also to follow up on certain information and check the reliability of the data. Create separate folders for data coming from social media, the open web, internal company reports, legal documents, etc.

Keep the data secure

Imagine spending months analyzing data, only to find out one day that it all disappeared? This can happen because of a cyber attack, human error, or even a natural disaster. Or, your data can be tampered with by outsiders, and you won't even notice. This will lead to inaccurate data, which will not benefit your business in the way you'd hope.

Data security should therefore be one of your company's main priorities. First off, make sure that you have a good cloud backup before making any changes so that you can go back in case you make a mistake. Also, implement various security tools to protect the data from outsiders, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and two-factor authentication.

Filter out irrelevant data

Before starting to analyze your data, you need to separate relevant data from irrelevant data. This will narrow down the amount of data you're dealing with, which will certainly help you avoid getting lost in it. You can do this by setting criteria for the type of data that you need. 

These criteria can be related to the quality of the data (complete data with no typos), the source of the data (maybe you're only analyzing internal company data), or recency of the data (if you're looking to draw insights about current market trends, focus on newer data). You can add any other criteria that are relevant to your objective.

Analyze the data

Once your goals are set and your data is secure and organized, you can start analyzing. This is the most crucial step that will lead to valuable insights for your company. Analyzing big data will allow you to:

●       Find out what happened in the past

●       Find out the reasons for past events

●       Find correlations between variables

●       Create forecasts.

Once you interpret this information, you can come to surprising and immensely valuable discoveries. Later on, you can base important business decisions on this information and start creating new business strategies that will lead to an increased competitive advantage.

Use automation tools

Efficiently managing and analyzing big data is nearly impossible to do by hand. It would require a lot of time and effort, and the results wouldn't be very accurate due to human error. It's best to automate all practices related to big data. Consider using AI-powered technology. 

AI technology can quickly and efficiently gather the information required for specific insights (for instance, by scraping the web). It can then analyze it and continuously update insights based on this new information. All of this with almost no need for human intervention. This will not only save you time: it will also lead to more precise results because AI technology is much less likely than humans to perform errors.

Use visualizations

Big data analytics often contain valuable insights for all members of a company. Therefore, you need to make sure that the results of such analyses are understandable to everyone so that they can use them in their work. 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Isn't it much easier and quicker to understand data if you can see it all in visuals rather than text? The best way to present any data is by creating visualizations for all important insights and forecasts. This means creating various graphs, charts, trend lines, tables, etc.

Bottom line

It's easy to get lost in big data. This just means that you need a good plan, and following the tips mentioned above will help you create that plan. By being tactical and determined, you'll certainly manage your data effectively. In doing so, you'll develop a competitive edge that will be your greatest asset in becoming one of the top companies in your industry!

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