Driving without a dashboard?
What about real time Big Data.
When a person gets into a car they have a dashboard that has a rev counter, a speedo, a fuel gauge, GPS etc. which provide all the information that they need to drive the car. The information a dashboard provides to a driver helps them arrive at their desired destination safely. Imagine however instead of having a dashboard with current information but information from a week or even a month ago or even not having a dashboard at all. This situation would seriously handicap a driver’s ability to drive safely and arrive at their desired destination.
This is similar to what many managers (drivers) of businesses face when they have either no data or use traditional data to help them inform their decision process. However, with the emergence of real-time big data managers now can have a dashboard that provides them with present day information.
Understanding why real-time big data is a revolution for businesses managers requires highlighting four elements: traditional big data, real-time big data, the types of real-time big data and the advantages and disadvantages of real-time big data.
Traditional Big Data
Traditional big data is commonly defined by Doug Laney’s three V’s: Volume, Velocity and Variety
Volume: Businesses collect data from a wide range of various sources
Velocity: Big data is collected at an incredibly fast
Variety: Data comes in a wide range of formats from structured and unstructured data sets
In other words, traditional big data is about large volumes of data, both structured and unstructured, which may be analysed for insights and provide managers with the means to make better decisions and develop strategic moves for their business.
Traditional big data was, and is, embraced by businesses and managers for three overarching reasons:
To help business managers make faster and better decisions for their businesses
To identify more efficient ways to do business and reduce costs
To help businesses develop new products and services for their consumers and clients
As with the car allegory, businesses that are using traditional big data are driving without a real time dashboard. Which means that they are using data that is either a week or a month old to inform their decisions about what to do in the present day. But through the development of real-time big data, managers now have the ability to have a present-day dashboard.
What is Real-time Big Data?
Real-time big data is formally defined as the integration of a diverse set of structured and unstructured data derived from both internal and external sources to deliver a platform to support faster insights then compared to traditional big data.
A less formal definition is that real-time big data allows business decisions makers to draw conclusions immediately as the data enters their system.
Types of Real Time Data
On demand real-time analytics: - requires a user to make a request and the data then provides the requested result
Continuous real-time analytics: - alerts users with continuous updates about possible insights in real-time
Advantages and Disadvantages of Real-time Big Data
Errors within a business are highlighted immediately
New strategies of a business’s competition are known instantly
Service improves dramatically
Fraud can be detected the moment it happens, allowing for measures to be taken to limit its possibly damaging effect
It provides cost saving measures
Requires powerful and integrated IT Systems
Requires a business to change their day-to-day businesses practices to cater to the insights the data provides
The development of real-time big data means that instead of driving with a dashboard from the past (traditional big data), managers now have access to a present-day dashboard, and just like on the roads, there are good drivers and poor drivers. The good business manager, like the good driver, will actively embrace tools like Big Data to assist in making informed decisions on how to steer the business in the right direction, and be responsive to the changing business conditions. It’s a poor business manager who chooses to ignore these tools. Not only is there a risk of the business being left behind by the competitors, but also being unaware of emerging issues which may have disastrous effects on productivity and profitability.