Companies ‘should invest in big data before its too late’

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Now is the right time to invest in big data and those who do not face being left behind.

Many businesses are now familiar with the term big data and what advantages it can bring to their business operations.

This has led to an explosion in the commercial world that has seen a short period of early adoption, swamped by mainstream activity.

Microsoft’s manager of product marketing Eron Kelly has recently posted a blog on the subject and he believes that Big Data is now so important to the all sorts of industries that companies will so switch their perspective.

Using big data will no longer be seen as a helpful advantage to boost profitability, it will be crucial for survival in an increasingly competitive market.

"I think everything’s at stake. Organisations that harness the power of big data will outperform their peers," he said.

He explained that in comparative terms, digital data is now more vast than all the world’s oceans, as there is currently 2.7 zetabytes of data versus the 1.37 zettalitres of seawater on the planet.

Furthermore, data is multiplying at "breakneck speed", so any company that does not have the right equipment to sort, analyse and use this information will just drown in it, Mr Kelly said.

"Those that are able to derive insights from data will make better decisions. They’ll be more efficient, and they’ll move whatever agenda it is that they have forward much faster than those that don’t," he commented.

Despite this huge expansion, the potential of big data remains largely unfulfilled, with public sector bodies such as governments, healthcare providers and universities lagging behind.

Dave Campbell, who works alongside Mr Kelly, said now is the time to invest in big data or risk being left behind.

He explained that more data than ever before is now processed in digital form and storage has become inexpensive and plentiful, while computer power has become so advanced that the handling of this "deluge" of data with "gymnastic" algorithms can help spot never-before-seen trends and provide further insights.

Also, the technology that is required to harness big data is even available in the cloud, which means that up-front costs and infrastructure capital will be very low.

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