As websites, banking transactions, online flight reservations, image applications, social networks, mobile devices, apps, etc. are flooding all areas of information and communications, a new concept is born: Big Data. This term refers to data sets that are so disproportionately large that it is impossible to treat them with conventional database tools and analytical applications.
The current explosion in our digital universe is transforming, as the size of Big Data (BD) is constantly changing and growing rapidly. For example, in 2012, it scaled from a dozen terabytes to multiple petabytes of data in a single data set. This increase has generated a large number of contents, requiring new systems and tools for their optimization and protection.
This huge mass of data has become a highly valued currency for businesses, and its economic value is constantly growing. The same is true for the rise in the information. However, we must not forget that the effectiveness of BD is directly proportional to the analysis made of the information.
Big Data technology is generally applied in all sectors of society, but especially in critical areas that benefit from this technology in a number of aspects, such as loyalty and customer retention, because they can create behavior patterns; promotion of new products and services since they can anticipate the needs of their clients; forecasts and projections because commercial transactions have also been digitized; and optimizing production and distribution methods, which is where logistics systems come into play.
An emerging market
The figures speak for themselves. A study conducted by Gartner indicates that the so-called Big Data has emerged as one of the ten strategic technologies for the years between 2012-2015, and this tendency is taking place globally. In Spain, for example, MuyComputerPRO magazine published a study performed by IDC Spain stating that the BD market in 2012 is in a phase of emergence. Specifically, the report indicates that currently 4.8% of all the companies that make up the Spanish business sector have incorporated Big Data technology into their business systems, and this number is expected to reach 7.6% by the end of 2012. In fact, the explosion of the digital universe, which according to IDC Spain will reach 2.7 zettabytes by the end of this year, is pushing the needs of organizations to manage, capture and analyze their information.
Despite the crisis, it seems that companies are focusing on technologies that generate greater organizational efficiency and provide new business opportunities based on data. This means that capturing, managing, storing, retrieving, distributing and analyzing information have become major corporate challenges.
Document technology companies have been able to detect these new needs and have designed appropriate solutions that allow businesses to easily manage large volumes of data at the correct time and place, enabling these organizations to be much more competitive.
Once again, innovative companies are the first to act, with a firm commitment to Big Data systems. However, the speed at which this technology will be adopted will depend on the business volume and the sector of the company. The sectors with the most promising technological future that have already adopted BD systems are the distribution or logistics sector in the first place and financial businesses in the second place.
As expected, technological transformations lead to changes in corporate architecture and in the mentality of Management and workers. This is logical, as Big-Data productivity will be the result of allowing all employees to work with different types of data.
Standardizing safety measures
Big Data is taking off on an international scale. For this reason, the non-profit Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) announced the creation of a research group that aims to standardize protocols and security systems for technologies that manage the interrelated Big Data systems and Cloud Computing.
The goal of the CSA is to make BD and Cloud environments safer. Therefore they also created the Big Data Working Group, with the purpose to develop solutions to security and privacy problems that may arise when using large volumes of data or working in the Cloud environment.
There is no doubt that Big-Data technology promises a new way of working that will redefine client-company relationships. Organizations will be able to adapt and manage concepts that could not be adopted and treated so quickly before, such as the perception of a brand conveyed and shared by social networks. Ultimately, Big Data will give a new strategic perspective that will enhance its competitive edge to any organization with a vision for the future.